Religious Attachment and the Sense of Life Purpose among Emerging Adults




Culver, Julian
Lundquist Denton, Melinda

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The salubrious association between religious involvement and well-being is evident among the general population of religious individuals. In particular, the sense of attachment to a deity is linked to promoting healthy behavior and positive well-being. The link between religious attachment and well-being is particularly salient for emerging adults during a life stage where they are developing their own sense of self while also renegotiating religious commitments. The current study uses OLS regression and a lagged dependent variable model to analyze how perceived closeness to God is linked to the sense of life purpose among a diverse, national sample of emerging adults. We find that relative to those perceiving closeness to God, those who reported feeling neutral or did not believe in God experienced lower levels of life purpose. Respondents who reported feeling distant from God had the lowest scores on the Life Purpose Index. The findings are examined within the framework of religion and attachment theory literature. The study encourages researchers to consider attachment to a deity as an important link in explaining well-being outcomes, especially among religious individuals.



emerging adults, religious change, attachment, purpose


Religions 8 (12): 274 (2017)