Theses Doctoral

Relational Spirituality in Adolescents: Exploring Associations with Demographics, Parenting Style, Religiosity, and Psychopathology

Desrosiers, Alethea

This study sought to investigate the construct of Relational Spirituality through: 1) identifying its correlates among demographic, spiritual, and parenting variables in a large, religiously and ethnically diverse sample of adolescents, and 2) investigating its associations with highly prevalent forms of psychopathology in adolescents. Participants were 615 adolescents representing a broad range of ethnicities (Caucasian, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, and multiracial, and other) and religious denominations (Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, and other). The Brief-Multidimensional Measure of Spirituality/Religiosity, the Mysticism Scale, the Beck Depression Inventory and the Beck Anxiety Inventory were used to measure spirituality, depression, and anxiety, respectively, while frequency of alcohol use was ascertained with a single item. Parental relationship quality was measured using the Parental Bonding Instrument and the Parental Transparency Scale. Given that rates of depression, anxiety and spirituality have been demonstrated to be higher in girls than boys, gender differences in patterns of association were examined with respect to each type of psychopathology. Results of stepwise regression analyses revealed that exclusively in females, Relational Spirituality accounted for a significant portion of the variance in depressive symptomatology above and beyond demographic, parenting, and religious variables. Stepwise regression analyses also showed that Relational Spirituality contributed to a significant portion of variance in alcohol use above and beyond other correlated variables in both boys and girls. In contrast, Relational Spirituality did not contribute to the variance in anxiety; rather, the quality of religious social support was protective against anxious symptomatology. Findings suggest that Relational Spirituality is differentially associated with widespread forms of psychopathology in adolescents, and our understanding of these disorders may be enhanced through a spiritual perspective.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Clinical Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Miller, Lisa F.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 6, 2011