Spirituality or religiousness: Which serves as the better predictor of elements of mental health?

Teresa A. Wilkins, Ralph L. Piedmont, Gina M. Magyar-Russell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


Social scientists contend that significant advancements in religion and spirituality research may be achieved via incremental validity studies using the Five Factor Model of personality. This study examined spirituality and religiousness as predictors of elements of mental health, which was operationalized as a combination of purpose in life, resilience, satisfaction with life, and pro-social behavior, while controlling for personality. Based upon the findings from existing research, it was hypothesized that spirituality would predict purpose in life and satisfaction with life better than religiousness, and religiousness would predict resilience and pro-social behavior better than spirituality. Using Piedmont's ASPIRES instrument, and controlling for personality, a study was performed utilizing a series of hierarchical regression analyses. Results supported the incremental validity of the ASPIRES instrument (AR2 scores ranged from.06 to.02). Contrary to the hypotheses, spirituality was a better predictor than religiousness for resilience and for pro-social behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationResearch in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Volume 23
EditorsRalph L. Piedmont, Andrew Village
PublisherEntomological Society of Canada
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9789004229532
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameResearch in the Social Scientific Study of Religion
ISSN (Print)1046-8064


  • Five Factor Model
  • Personality
  • Pro-social behavior
  • Purpose in life
  • Religiousness
  • Resilience
  • Satisfaction with life
  • Spiritual transcendence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Religious studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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