Daily spiritual experiences in a biracial, community-based population of older adults

Kimberly A. Skarupski, George Fitchett, Denis A. Evans, Carlos F. Mendes De Leon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Objectives: The objectives of this study were to describe the levels of daily spiritual experiences (DSEs) in community-dwelling older adults, to compare the levels of spiritual experiences with the levels of prayer and religious service attendance, and to examine the demographic and psychosocial correlates of spiritual experiences. The data came from 6534 participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, an ongoing population-based, biracial (65% African American) study of the risk factors for incident Alzheimer's disease among older adults. A 5-item version of the Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES) was used in the study. Multivariable linear regression models were used to examine the relationship between sociodemographic and psychosocial factors and DSES scores. Results: The majority of the participants reported having spiritual experiences at least daily. In the bivariate analyses, African Americans and women had higher DSES scores than Whites and men, respectively (p's < 0.001). Prayer and worship were moderately associated with DSES scores. In the multivariable analyses, African American race, older age, female gender, better self-rated health, and greater social networks were associated with higher DSES scores, while higher levels of education and depressive symptoms were associated with lower DSES scores. Conclusion: We observed high levels of spiritual experiences and found that the DSES is related to, but distinct from the traditional measures of religiosity. We found associations between DSES, demographic, and psychosocial factors that are consistent with the findings for other religiosity and spirituality (R/S) measures. Future research should test whether DSES contributes to our understanding of the relationship between R/S and health in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • psychosocial correlates
  • race/ethnicity
  • religiosity
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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