Culture Post: Study Explores Spirituality’s Role in Children’s Mental Health

The following is excerpted from an online article posted by MedicalXpress.

recent research suggests that spirituality be added to factors that determine children’s mental health. “Establishing spirituality as an intermediary determinant of health among 42,843 children from eight countries” appears in the February issue of Preventive Medicine.

he research team, led by Brock Assistant Professor of Health Sciences Valerie Michaelson, explored spirituality as a potential “non-tangible determinant of health” in adolescents aged 11 to 15 years.

The researchers define ‘spirituality’ as being in connections with others, nature, the transcendent, and within themselves, through the importance of having a sense of meaning and purpose in their lives.

The research team found that:

  • Higher socio-economic status appears to be correlated with higher spiritual health in most populations of children.
  • There seems to be a consistent protective effect of spirituality on the mental health of young people.
  • These effects seem to be driven by having a sense of “meaning and purpose” in life.

The research team’s findings were “striking,” says Michaelson.

The spiritual domain of “connections to themselves,” which included consideration of experiences of meaning and purpose in life, was strongly and consistently protective of adolescent mental health. These experiences were also unequally experienced by young people in relation to their socio-economic circumstances, she says.

Source: MedicalXpress

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[reposted by] Jim Liebelt

Jim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for HomeWord. Jim has 40 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, having served over the years as a pastor, author, consultant, mentor, trainer, college instructor, and speaker. Jim’s HomeWord culture blog also appears on and Jim and his wife Jenny live in Quincy, MA.

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