The present study aimed to create a theoretical model of spiritual development utilizing data obtained from 433 students attending various Christian educational institutions. Previous theories of spiritual development including stage theories from various theological viewpoints (e.g., Teresa, 1957; John of the Cross, see Coe, 2000) along with developmental theories from psychology of religion (e.g., Fowler, 1981) are discussed and contrasted with our theory. These previous theories seem to group into wide-ranging stage or descriptive models that leave a gap in the area of affect and relationships. The expanding fields of attachment to others, God and spiritual communities are explored and incorporated in an effort to create a theoretical model that emphasizes principles from "relational spirituality" (Hall, 2004). The current model proposes that attachment variables positively predict both spiritual and psychological outcomes and that spiritual outcomes positively predict psychological outcomes. In addition, the present model suggests that spiritual engagement variables moderate these relationships. Results based on structural equation modeling provided evidence that our model has a relatively good fit as described above. As predicted, in general we found a stronger positive association between spiritual and psychological outcomes for those who were more spiritually engaged. However, for certain moderator variables we found a stronger positive association between attachment and spiritual and psychological outcomes for those who were less spiritually engaged. These results are discussed along with encouragement for further research.
|Adviser||Todd W. Hall|
|Subjects||Clinical psychology; Spirituality|
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