Religious engagement and positive mental well-being among emerging adults

Date
2015
Authors
Culver, Julian
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Abstract

This study seeks to investigate the relationship between religious engagement and positive mental well-being among emerging adults. Four components of religious engagement are used for the current study: frequency of religious service attendance, frequency of praying alone, importance of faith and the sense of distance or closeness to God. Three components of positive mental well-being are measured: life satisfaction, personal mastery, and life purpose. Survey data for the current study is taken from wave 4 from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) which provides an exhaustive sample of emerging adults from different regions of the U.S. as well as from diverse backgrounds, religious affiliations, and ages. Emerging adulthood is typically a time of instability and decline in religious engagement. Religion may influence the mental well-being of emerging adults differently than for the general adult population. Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression results generally demonstrate emerging adults that are more religiously engaged tend to experience favorable well-being. However, results also indicate certain components religiosity effect positive mental well-being differently. Positive mental well-being seems to be uniquely influenced by the sense of closeness to God rather than other components of religiosity directly. Emerging adults that feel close to God tend to experience more favorable mental well-being in comparison to those that do not feel close to God. Ramifications of the current study are discussed.

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Keywords
Emerging Adults, Mental Well-Being, Religion
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Department
Sociology