Multicultural and Idiosyncratic Considerations for Measuring the Relationship Between Religious and Secular Forms of Spirituality With Positive Global Mental Health

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The current study espouses an alternative methodology using an ideologically diverse sample of 4,667 respondents who reported their spirituality levels (i.e., the extent one lives in accordance with one’s self-defined spiritual values) and their mental health levels. The sample predominately included agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and spiritual nonreligious participants. Multigroup analyses within structural equation models revealed that spirituality held a large relationship strength with mental health for both religious and secular forms of spirituality, even with multiple configurations determining the constituents of the secular group. An exploratory analysis demonstrated that when spirituality, demographic factors, social support, and spiritual coping usage were all examined as predictors of mental health, religious and secular forms of spirituality were the only variables that maintained a large predictive strength. The results indicated that living in accordance with one’s spiritual values, even when defined in a variety of ways, is characteristic of greater mental health.

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