Saint Anselm College
MaryAnne Cappelleri
 

The Impact of Religioisity and Spirituality on Life Satisfaction in College Students

Acknowledgements
Results and Discussion
Appendices
 Abstract
References
Links
 Introduction
Method

Acknowledgements

Completion of this study would not have been possible without the constant guidance and support of Doctor Elizabeth Pizzaro Ossoff.  Dr. Ossoff gave much of her valuable time by answering questions, lending an ear, and drying a tear.  I will forever be grateful for her patience and kindness throughout these past 3 months.  I would also like to thank Lauren McNamara,  my thesis companion.  You were there for me whenever I needed encouragement and acknowledgement of what I was going through. Your friendship has meant so much to me these past 3 months, I hope you realize how much I am indebted to you for your unending sympathy and kindheartednessówithout you, it would have been too long a road to walk alone. 

My roommates, Carrie, Sharon, and Heather have been there to help listen and deal with my early hours and late eveningsóyour understanding and compassion has been a tremendous help.  Also, my friends who volunteered to be a part of this study helped me an incredible amount.  My friends Ailish, Gina, Annie, Danni and the groupies at Club Weiler, who have listened to hours of complaining and have let me unleash the wrath that only a psychology thesis could induce, are greatly appreciated!  You are saved a place in heaven! 

Lastly, and most importantly, I would like to thank my family: Mom, Dad, Frank and Dave.  You have given me the greatest gifts of love, support, and faith.  With your love in my heart I am capable to live as a fulfilled human being.  With your support in everything I do, I know I can never fail in your eyes because you believe in me.  With the faith I have received from you, I have learned that God lives in each and every person and thing on this earth, all I have to do is recognize Him.  Dad, you most importantly, have also taught me, that to be a true person you must give of yourself to help another, that is where you find true happiness in life.  I love you all.

This study is dedicated to the memories of my grandparents Maria G. Cappelleri, Dorothy Pardo, Frank Pardo, and my godfather Frank Pardo, Jr.  I pray that I make you proud by living my life in the example you have set forth for me to follow.
 
 

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Abstract
 

This study examined the relationship between religiosity, spirituality and life satisfaction in college students.  Past research has indicated a positive relationship between religiosity, spirituality and life satisfaction.  Religiosity is defined through such acts as prayer and church attendance, which are done either in private or rely on following regulations.  Religiosity is mostly an internal expression of oneís faith.  Spirituality is defined through such acts as being a part of support groups or volunteering, make use of oneís faith by putting it into action.  Spirituality is an external expression o oneís faith.  It was predicted that both religiosity and spirituality would have a positive impact on life satisfaction.  Spirituality was thought to have a greater impact on life satisfaction.
 A cross-sectional research design was conducted.  Thirty-two participants were taken from a small liberal arts college in the northeast.  The subjects completed the Religious Acts Survey (RAS) created by the researcher to measure oneís religiosity.  They also answered the Spiritual Acts Survey (SAS) created again, by the researcher to measure oneís spirituality.  Lastly, they completed the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) created by Diener and Pavot (1993).  All scales have a decent level of internal consistency. 

After data collection, Pearson Product Moment Correlations were conducted to find significant relationships between religiosity, spirituality and life satisfaction.  Overall religiosity and overall spirituality were found to be positively correlated to each other.  A positive relationship was located between SWLS question #4 and the total religiosity score.  Pearson Product Moment Correlations also were done between questions on each scale. Significance was located between 5 questions on the RAS in relation to 4 questions on the SWLS.  Lastly, Significance was found in 1 question on the SAS in relation to all questions on the SWLS.   Results also pointed to a higher religiosity in freshmen, while seniors scored higher on spirituality.

These results indicate that people are satisfied with their lives while participating in community support groups related to faith.  When people actively participate in behaviors to increase their awareness of their own faith in God, they then gain a greater satisfaction with life. 
Future research should look to find a better distinction between religiosity and spirituality.  In addition, future research should measure how oneís religiosity and spirituality change in respect to life satisfaction as they mature and experience their faith in different ways.  This study is important for everyday life because people rarely acknowledge the impact oneís faith plays in their lives.  Once one is able to understand this relationship, one might find greater meaning and satisfaction in life by embracing their religious or spiritual sides.
 
 

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Introduction

 
Religiosity and spirituality have a role in society today. Through research it has been established, that a positive relationship is present between religiosity or spirituality when looking at life satisfaction.  Certain attributes of spirituality differ from those of religiosity.  Religious acts include prayer, attendance at services and other ways of actively being involved with their religious institution (Maltby, Lewis, & Day, 1999).  Religious people have a concrete idea of the beliefs of their faith and participate actively in their Church or church related organizations.  Those who hold spirituality at the forefront of their lives tend to ìlive their faithî (Knox, Langehough, Walters & Rowley 1998).  Spiritual people actually embrace their thoughts and feelings and use them to make their lives an example of their faith.  Recent literature states the impact of religiosity is positively correlated with life satisfaction (Dufton and Perlman, 1986, Peacock and Poloma, 1998, Ellison, Gay & Glass, 1989), and that spirituality and religiosity positively impact well-being (Ellison, 1991, Knox et al., 1998, Schafer, 1997).  The purpose of this study is to examine if both increased levels of spirituality and religiosity will be positively correlated with overall life satisfaction. 

Spirituality

James and Samuels (1999) have defined spirituality as the search for meaning and purpose in oneís life.  Spirituality tends to give one a sense of order and a direction in their lives because they have a form of attachment to a Supreme Being.  James and Samuels (1999) argue that stressful life events help one to gain a more spiritual outlook and development in life.  Oneís values, commitments and relationships become a defining part of their individuality (James and Samuels, 1999).  One gains faith through a deepening of this sense of self (self-awareness).  Then one is more apt to ìlive their faith.î 

James and Samuels (1999) used various scales to measure their participantsí spirituality and high stress events.  The first questionnaire encompassed two instruments: (1) the revised intrinsic/extrinsic religious scale developed by Gorsuch and McPherson in 1989 to measure the an individualís intrinsic and extrinsic orientation and (2) the Religious Beliefs Inventory devised by Ring in 1986 to measure the universalistic and spiritual orientation of near death experiences.  The second questionnaire they used was the Fowler Scale devised by Barnes, Doyle, and Johnson in 1989, to measure faith development and faith styles in Catholics.  Thirdly, they created a survey to measure how much stress the participants thought they encountered resulting from life events.  Lastly, James and Samuels generated an open-ended survey to have the participants describe five experiences that have influenced them on a long-term basis in respect to meaning, purpose, or value of life and their spiritual beliefs, values and practices.

James and Samuels (1999) concluded that people, who incur high stress life encounters, have an increased universalistic spiritual orientation then those who have not.  Since these events challenge oneís pre-existing perspectives about themselves and the world, people are forced to re-evaluate their life priorities.  Thus leading to a greater meaning and purpose in life and higher spirituality.  Those who have gone through this metamorphosis have a better grasp on their purpose in life, thus confirming the purpose of this study.  Having a greater purpose in life, from increased spirituality, leads one to a greater satisfaction life.

Vicky Genia (1996) examined spiritualityís impact on oneís life.  She conducted a study examining the extrinsic (behaviors similar to religiosity) and intrinsic (psychological side of faith and spirituality) orientations of people in respect to spiritual well-being.  Genia defined extrinsic behavior as using religion for oneís own benefit and for social reward.  She also defined intrinsic orientation as psychologically altering oneself to their faith.

For Religious assessment, Genia used a recently revised version of the Allport-Ross Orientation Scale created in 1993 along with the revised Quest Scale created by Batson and Schoenrade in 1991.  Then Genia used the Religious Fundamentalism (RF) Scale created by Altemeyer and Hunsberger in 1992.  Lastly to assess religiosity, Genia used the Spiritual Well-Being Scale created by Paloutzian and Ellison in 1982.  It measured religious well-being and existential well-being.

Other measures that Genia looked at consisted of psychological and social desirability.  She used the Beck Depression Inventory created in 1961 and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale created by Rosenberg in 1965.  The Social Desirability was assessed by a short version of the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale created by Strahan and Gerbasi in 1972.
 From Geniaís results she concluded intrinsic faith was related to a positive psycho-spiritual view on life.  The involvements of the intrinsically faithful believers in faith communities have a stronger relationship to God, which helps them to be less apt to depression and angst in their lives.  Thus supporting the purpose of the present study by confirming that higher spiritual involvement leads to less life distress and greater life satisfaction. 

Religiosity

Religion may increase well-being (Ellison, 1991).  Religious beliefs positively affect cognitive and affective interpretations of life quality (Ellison, 1991).  In addition, attendance at Church and private devotion help strengthen peoplesí beliefs in their religion (Ellison et al., 1989).  Schafer (1997) looked at how college students use their faith in everyday life.  He measured their dependence on a higher power (confidence that things will turn out well), belief in heaven and hell (what we do will be rewarded), and belief in life after death (helps with coping because problems are only temporary).  Schafer concluded that those with increased spirituality and religiosity are likely to have lower levels of personal distress thus confirming an accelerated satisfaction in life. 
When people are faced with a trying situation in their lives, they tend to look toward their faith for answers.  Theologically, when people worship privately they can receive internal solace through contemplation of the reasons for their trials.  Christians have a physical and tangible remembrance of their Lord and Savior while celebrating Mass.  Through witnessing how Christ suffered for their sins, Christians realize how their suffering is tolerable.  Religious faith helps safeguard against the damaging impacts of trauma on well-being (Ellison, 1991).  Ellison found this by using the General Social Surveyís 1998 edition (only edition where religious questions were asked).  This survey measured religious socialization, belief, and practice.  In addition, it looks at background characteristics, social integration, life traumas, and life quality.  He concluded if one is able to participate in religious interactions, they then need to understand the role it plays in their lives.  Thus leading them to feel more satisfied with their life since they are ìdoing the will of God.î  This is pertinent to the current study since it supports the concept of a positive impact on life satisfaction through religious involvement.

Chumbler (1996) found that people with a strong religious faith have a greater level of satisfaction with life then those with lower religious faith.  This study looked at life satisfaction, religious involvement, secular forms of social involvement, and social background influences.  Chumbler used marital status, traumatic life events, race, gender, and social class to measure social background.  For secular forms of social involvement he used social activity involvement (frequency of performing primary social roles) and social affiliation (the amount of secular volunteering associations they participate in) for assessment (Ellison et al., 1989).  As for religious involvement, Chumbler measured participation, divine interaction, existential certainty, spiritual gifts, and divine authority to determine the religiosity of the participants.  He found the subjects with less traumatic life events had increased levels of life satisfaction.  Chumbler controlled for social involvement and social background while looking at religiosity.  Chumbler focused more on oneís experience with religion based on their social activity and social affiliation.  In contrast the present study will look more on the internal perception of oneís faith in God and how it interact with their daily actions and how this impacts on their satisfaction with life. 

Ellison et al. (1989) measured oneís life satisfaction, religious commitment and sociability.  Ellison et al. (1989) determined the participantsí involvement in divine interaction (such as prayer) in response to traumatic life events was positively correlated to their life satisfaction and their purpose in life.  This study supports the hypothesis of the present study by stating that divine interaction (a form of religiosity) does promote life satisfaction. 

 Dufton and Perlman (1986) sought to find a relationship between purpose in life and religion in college undergraduates.  The Purpose In Life Test created by Curmbaugh in 1968, assessed the amount of meaning and purpose an individual experiences in their life as predicted by life satisfaction and life purpose factor (the extent of someoneís meaning and purpose in life).  The results indicated that the life satisfaction factor more closely related to religion than was the purpose of life factor.  These college students did not feel their religion played a significant role in their lives.  Even with their overall scores indicating such results, conservative religious students scored higher in respect to life satisfaction thus supporting this study.

Lewis, Lanigan, Joseph, and Fockert (1997) found no relationship between religiosity and happiness in college students.  They suggest the relationship between religiosity and happiness may depend on the definition of happiness, frequency of happiness and its intensity.  After completion of the Francis Scale of Attitudes towards Christianity Survey created by Robbins and Francis in 1996, Satisfaction With Life Scale (Diener and Pavot, 1993), and Depression-Happiness Scale created by McGreal and Joseph in 1993, it was determined that undergraduates have a hard time defining their goals in accordance with morality.  They seem to be striving for happiness and gratification but fall away from their religious side.  The pressure is most evident in freshmen starting college in an institution away from their home and its security.  Once the sense of security is threatened, a student tends to feel lost and questions who he/she is.  This leads to lesser self-assurance and individuation (separating themselves from family and friends) and thus leads to less satisfaction in life.  The present study contradicts these findings by stating religiosity does in fact have an impact on satisfaction with life.

Ayele, Mulligan, Gheorghiu, and Ortiz (1991) agree with Hunsberger (1985) who found those who have a stronger faith at a younger age only deepen their faith as they mature, by finding that religion causes satisfaction to increase (positive impact) with age with doctors they surveyed.  The physicians and psychiatrists surveyed mostly lead a strong faithful life.  They incorporated these beliefs into their own work with their patients to help promote positive morale and help to boost their patientsí confidence so that their patientsí health would improve.  Markides, Levin, and Ray (1987) agree with Ayele et al (1991): as people get closer to death and they mature, they tend to look more towards God.  Their religious commitment becomes stronger and their desire to live also deepens.  The only way they are able to find solace is through God.  Their attendance at church services (strictly religious not spiritual) tends to increase also because it aids in people's life satisfaction (Markides et al., 1987).

Richards (1991) took a different approach in his research.  He focused on relations of religiousness, personality, and mental health in a college student sample.  He concluded that students try to individuate from their parents once at school, which can lead to depression.  He found pro-religious students (students who are orthodox and dogmatically devout) had less emotional separation from their parents than non-religious students did. These more religious students feel less lonesome and more close to God, which aid them in carrying on through the traumatic events and leads them to being more fully satisfied with their lives.  The pro-religious students are not more emotionally disturbed than others are.

Spirituality and Religiosity 

After analysis of the Religious Orientation Scale results, created by Allport and Ross in 1976 (Richards, 1991), it was found that people approach faith as intrinsic (plain belief in religion) or extrinsic (find it useful)(Richards, 1991).  Each is a characteristic (intrinsic and extrinsic) in their personalities.  The participants who were intrinsic and pro-religious showed no difference in their life purpose and life satisfaction then those who scored high extrinsically.  This supports the current study by stating that both religiosity (intrinsic because of beliefs in rules and regulations) and spirituality (extrinsic because of putting faith into action) are positively related to life satisfaction.  Stronger spirituality affects the way these people participate in religion, for example going to services and being a part of group functions (Prest, Russel & DíSouza, 1999).  The deeper oneís spirituality and religiosity the less personal distress one encounters (Shafer 1997).
Religion and spirituality have a positive relationship with life satisfaction and help aid people through the use of a support system (Chumbler, 1996, Knox et al., 1998, Ellison et al., 1989).  People involved in these groups gain emotional, cognitive, and material security from their beliefs (Ellison et al., 1989).  Support systems bring together similar types of people. They feel accepted and a sense of belonging, which makes them feel more confident with themselves and their lives thus leading to the purpose of the present study.  This confirms the belief in a positive relationship between those who are either religious or spiritual have a greater satisfaction of life because they find meaning and purpose through living.

Hunsberger (1985) determined that those who have a stronger faith at a younger age only deepen that faith as they mature, but those who have a weaker faith at a younger age will only lose it, as they get older. Hunsberger measured religiosity by giving the Christian Orthodoxy Scale, an interview where he asked participants to graph their levels of religiousness and happiness in ten-year intervals during their lives.   He also asked the participants to rate ten possible influences in their religious development (negative to positive).  Hunsberger does not believe in improving faith if there is not a good basis from which to start.  His results concluded that age is positively correlated to increased religiosity in a religious population while less religious people have a negative correlation to religiosity.  These who scored higher on religiosity also scored higher on the life satisfaction survey thus confirming the present study.  The younger participants will score lower on religiosity and spirituality and have lower satisfaction with life.  While, the older participants will score higher on either religiosity or spirituality and have a positive increase in life satisfaction.
 Religiosity and spirituality play a role in every person.  One of the best predictors of life satisfaction is ìclosenessî to God (Peacock and Plooma 1998).  The increase of religion as people get older is evident.  They look for comfort in ways that they may not have thought of before, because their situations are much different than they ever imagined (Krause, 1993). 

This study will examine how positively related both religiosity and spirituality are to life satisfaction.  The directional hypothesis of this study declares religiosity or spirituality is positively correlated to life satisfaction.  The nondirectional hypothesis will determine which form of faith (spirituality or religiosity) has a greater correlation to life satisfaction.  It is predicted that those with a greater spirituality will have a greater positive correlation with life satisfaction
 
 

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Method

Subjects Twenty-five of the participants for this study came from the subject pool Introductory Psychology courses at a small, Roman Catholic, liberal arts institution located in the northeast.  Seven participants of various majors volunteered their time to help with this study.  The mean age of the 32 participants was 19.  The female participants out numbered the males; there were 23 females and 9 males.  The majority faith of the participants was Roman Catholic, two were Protestant and one subject did not answer the question.  The mean amount of years people attended Catholic/Christian School was 4.6 years. 

Materials The subjects completed three designed surveys to measure their religiosity, spirituality, and life satisfaction. First the subjects completed the Religious Acts Survey (RAS) (See Appendix A) created by the researcher, based on a survey given by Jennifer Talbot in her undergraduate thesis completed in 1995, to determine how often each subject participated in religious actions.  It also measured what these people find important about their religion.  It consisted of six preliminary questions about their history.  Each participant circled or wrote the best answer that described their beliefs.  The 24 remaining questions were on a Likert scale from 1-7 (1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree).  The participants rated each statement according to their own thoughts and feelings (example: I participate in Bible study. ____).  The test has good internal consistency.  The reliability (for 32 cases and 24 items) had an alpha value of .92.  The validity is inconclusive because the N was so small. 

Secondly, the subjects completed the Spirituality Acts Survey (SAS) (See Appendix B) created again by the researcher based on a survey given by Karen Feraca in her undergraduate thesis completed in 1995.  This questionnaire looked at how often people participated in spiritual activities (not just religiously oriented) and what their perception of spirituality consisted of.  The survey encompassed five preliminary questions about each of the participantsí history.  They circled yes or no to answer the questions.  The remaining questions for the survey were on a Likert scale and were rated from 1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree.  Participants circled the answer that best exemplified their thoughts and feelings (example: I consider my relationships with others a spiritual experience.)  There was good internal consistency.  The reliability (for 32 cases and 24 items) had an alpha value of .89.  The validity is inconclusive because the N was so small.
 Lastly, the subjects filled out the Satisfaction With Life Scale by Diener and Pavot  (1993) (See Appendix C).  This scale has been found to be useful in all age levels.  It consisted of five questions on a Likert scale rating 1-7 (1 being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree) (example: So far I have gotten the important things I want in life).  It maintains a decent level of internal consistency (Alpha value = .87) (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, and Griffin, 1985).  It is also significantly correlated with interviewer ratings of participant life satisfaction (Diener et al., 1985). 

Procedure Each student was given an instruction sheet stating preliminary information about the study (See Appendix D).  This sheet explained the purpose of the study to be looking at the relationship between faith and life experience.  It also contained the names of the materials being used by the participants.  They were also informed they could terminate their participation at any time if they felt uneasy for any reason.  If the subject agreed to participate, then he/she was given a consent form to read and sign before commencing the study (See Appendix E).  The form included mandatory information for experimentation on human subjects provided by the Department of Psychology.  It stated the subjects could leave at anytime if they decided they did not desire to participate.  The subjects then completed their questionnaires and returned them to the researcher. 

Upon the completion of the survey packet each was handed a debriefing statement (See Appendix F).  Lastly, the participants were thanked and told they could contact the researcher to obtain a synopsis of the results of the study after they were compiled.
 
 

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Results and Discussion

This studyís hypothesis predicted a relationship between religiosity or spirituality and life satisfaction.  Spirituality was predicted to have a greater positive correlation to life satisfaction rather then religiosity due to physical implementation of faith into actions.  The results indicated no overall significant relationship between any of the predicted outcomes.  There was a positive relationship (near significance) found between religiosity total (RELTOT) and satisfaction with life scale question  #4 (SWLS4) thus indicating some relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction. The RAS and SAS were significantly intercorrelated suggesting that there really is not much of a difference in religiosity and spirituality as measured in this study.

Religiosity questions which indicated near significant relationships with life satisfaction included (1) prayer in groups, (2) retreat attendance and (3) speaking about their own beliefs.  Questions that indicated significant positive relationships with life satisfaction included (1) using prayer through song and meditation, (2) retreat attendance, (3) leading retreats, (4) actively participating in Bible study, and (5) speaking about their own beliefs. These results indicate that when people actively participate in behaviors to increase their awareness of their own faith in God, they then gain a greater satisfaction with life.  This is consistent with prior research found by Ellison et al. (1989), Chumbler (1996), Knox et al. (1998), and Prest et al. (1999).

Spirituality questions which resulted in near significant relationships with life satisfaction included questions pertaining to (1) a community being necessary for spiritual fulfillment, (2) volunteering time in community service events, and (3) participating in Spring Break Alternative and Urban Immersion programs.  A positive significant relationship between spirituality and life satisfaction was seen solely in the question evaluating peopleís experience while participating in Spring Break Alternative and Urban Immersion programs.  These people found that their spirituality had been increased through their participation and this is positively correlated to all questions on the SWLS.  These results suggest that having a community along with volunteering give one a greater satisfaction in life.  This confirms the notion that spirituality has an impact on life satisfaction that is consistent with research done by Genia (1996) and James & Samuels (1999).

Since both RAS and the SAS were so intercorrelated, yet highly internally consistent, they may be measuring the same aspects of faith.  The results indicate that oneís behavior in relation to their faith along with demonstrating their faith in action lead them to a greater satisfaction in life.  This study shows that those who take an active role in their faith are thus happier and satisfied with their lives.  After examining the results, it is concluded that students who had the top 10 religiosity scores (RELTOT of 104-155) were mainly freshmen (5 freshmen, 3 sophomores, and 2 seniors), while those who had the top 10 spirituality scores (SPIRTOT of 112-137) were seniors (5 Seniors, 4 Freshmen, and 1 Sophomore).  This shows that oneís spirituality tends to increase as they age which is supported through the study of Ayele et al. (1999).

Based on recent literature, there has been evidence that either religiosity or spirituality increases oneís life satisfaction.  James and Samuels (1999) found that people who incur greater stress in their lives through difficult situations, have a deepened spirituality, which leads to a greater satisfaction in life.  This is exemplified in the current study through the evaluation of the SAS with respect to satisfaction with life.  Those who participate in difficult situations such as Urban Immersion or Spring Break Alternative (by putting themselves in a physically and emotionally challenging atmosphere) have to re-evaluate their priorities and seem to appreciate their lives more.  They tend to look more at what they posses rather then what they lack.  Their purpose in life is more defined and they feel a greater satisfaction in their lives. 

Vicky Genia (1996) also agrees that involvement in faith communities enhances oneís spirituality.  Genia states that one with a stronger level of spirituality has less depression and angst in their lives thus leading to greater satisfaction with life.  Geniaís thoughts are confirmed through the results of the SAS and the RAS in respect to SWLS in the current study.  Those who are able to share their faith with a community of others, who share the same thoughts and beliefs instead of denying them, feel more satisfied with their place in life. 

Ellison (1991) agrees that faith helps get people through traumatic life events thus supporting the use of prayer seen in the results of the RAS.  A positive relationship was found between different types of prayer (group prayer and also meditation and prayer through song) and life satisfaction.  Ellison et al. (1989) found divine interaction (prayer) as a response to traumatic life events has a positive relationship to life satisfaction and life purpose.  Once a person goes through an awful situation or life-altering occurrence, they need to make sense of what has happened.  These people turn to prayer and thus find what it is in their life that needs to be changed and become more satisfied with their lives.  Richards (1991) found that more religious students feel closer to God and able to carry on through traumatic life events thus determining that they are more satisfied with their lives.  Those who go through more traumatic events (throughout lifeís course) are satisfied to a greater extent, thus alluding to age playing a part in religiosity (because those who are older have gone through more traumatic life events).

Ayele et al. (1991) along with Markides, Levin, and Ray (1987) agree that oneís faith increases with age.  Although this is supported in the current study, the previous literature claims the increase results from maturing and getting closer to death.  The present study alludes to the fact that the seniors have matured to the level of sharing their faith with others and becoming more active in their faith.  The seniors mostly have participated in various forms of community support and have volunteered their time for the betterment of others, thus making these students not just dependent on God solely through prayer, but also through actively demonstrating Jesusí actions to each other.  They have matured to a greater extent then the surveyed freshmen.  Hunsberger (1985) supports the idea of age playing a part in religiosity by stating how those with a stronger faith at a younger age increase their faith as they age.  This is evident in the current study because the seniors are more involved in their faith by sharing it with others.  The sense of apprehension about sharing their faith with others becomes less as they mature because their confidence in themselves increases. 

Freshmen were found to internalize their faith (make use of different types of prayer) rather then share it outwardly with others.  Lewis et al. (1997) also measured the relationship between religiosity and happiness in college students.  They found no relationship between happiness and religiosity.  In the current study most freshmen (11 out of 14) were unsatisfied with their lives and only 3 were satisfied thus alluding to the fact that they were also not happy. These students may be have less self-assurance and they may be individuating themselves.  This may be the reason they are not satisfied with their lives.  Since they are unable to express their faith (spiritual actions discussed above) these students tend to be more internal rather then outward with their actions and sharing their feelings with others.  The current study supports this idea of Lewis et al. (1997) by stating how not many freshmen were satisfied deeming them also unhappy.  The present study did not prove everything it was designed to, but it was still conducted in the proper manner. 
This studyís methodology was strictly followed. Each subject participated after giving formal consent.  The study was conducted in the same room at the same time on two specified nights.  Not all students were from the subject pool.  Seven students volunteered their time to help conduct the study.  The study would have been more valid if the population was larger and the amount of upperclassmen equaled the amount of underclassmen. 

Other issues to question in this research were the scales used.  The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS) may have lacked sensitivity.  Since it was originally created with 48 items, the researcher should have looked at the differences in the questions being asked.  A more sensitive scale would better indicate a personís satisfaction with life.  Studies have shone (Lewis et al., 1997 and Talbot, 1995) to not prove the predicted hypothesis while using the SWLS. 

A strong relationship was not found on two different levels (1) increased faith did not correlate with increased life satisfaction or (2) decrease in faith was not correlated with decrease in SWLS.  This goes against the recent literature such as Dufton & Perlman (1986), Ellison et al. (1989), and Chumbler (1996) that found significant correlations between faith and life satisfaction.  Since the population was so small a relationship may be detected using a larger population; a greater number of participants may influence the ability to detect the desired relationships.  The predicted hypotheses also could be wrong.  There may not be a difference between religiosity and spirituality, contrary to the predicted hypothesis.  Also, faith may not influence the life of college students.  If another population was targeted, the results may be entirely different.  Since two instruments (RAS an SAS) were created by the researcher they may not be measuring the exact determining factors in religiosity and spirituality. 

Future research should look more toward the differences in religiosity and spirituality and measure it in different ways.  One could measure them both together to determine the impact overall of faith on life satisfaction.  Also, a different type of scale can be used to measure satisfaction with life that can determine what parts of life one is satisfied with.  A larger sample size would work out to the researchersí benefit in determining a relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction.  If this study was to be conducted with a different population, the researcher might find a more distinct difference between religiosity and life satisfaction.  One could also evaluate traumatic life experiences to see if there is an impact on faith. 

Another suggestion for future research would be to conduct a cross-lagged design.  This way the researcher could obtain a baseline for religiosity, spirituality, and life satisfaction.  Then the researcher could measure how maturation along with participation in religious and spiritual activities, affects oneís religiosity, spirituality, and life satisfaction.  Since the results of this study suggest a shift from religiosity to spirituality as one matures the cross-lagged design would measure this relationship appropriately.

Understanding the influence of religiosity and spirituality to life is very important.  Society tends to belittle the impact faith as on a person.  After closer examination into this topic it has been found to have an impact on various aspects of oneís life.  If it does have a profound impact on life satisfaction, one might be more apt to get involved in either their faith or in volunteer opportunities with a basis in faith.  Religiosity and spirituality hold the main rule of humanity as their basis: Treat others as you would like to be treated.  This is the rule that should govern all of humanity.  When one engages in this thinking, and puts it into action, they will be able to see the positive impact it has on their lives and then be more satisfied with themselves and their place in life. 
 This study is important to everyday life.  One may not realize that volunteering and giving of oneself could positively impact their own lives.  This study has shown also that becoming a part of a faith-based support system helps one deal with hardships incurred in every day life.  The most important fact revealed from this study concludes that those who live their faith truly feel a connection to God and the world ñ thus trying to live as Jesus Christ by incorporating their own spirituality into humanity.  Through these actions, one is able to find meaning and purpose in life, thus giving them a greater satisfaction with themselves and their place in life.

Table 1.  Table of Correlations between Religiosity Total Scores, Spirituality Total Scores and Satisfaction with Life Total Scores

                                        SWLS                RELTOT               SPIRTOT 
 

SWLS
Pearson Correlation         1.000                    .211                  .142 
N                                            32                      32                    32

RELTOT
Pearson Correlation           .211                  1.000                   .800** 
N                                            32                     32                     32 

SPIRTOT
Pearson Correlation            142                   .800**                1.000 
N                                           32                     32                     32 
 
 

 Note.**Correlation is significant at p < 0.01 level 

 SWLSóSatisfaction with Life Scale Total Score

 RELTOT-Religious Acts Survey Total Scores

 SPIRTOT-Spiritual Acts Survey Total Scores 

Table 2.  Correlations Between Individual Satisfaction With Life Scale Questions, Religiosity Total Score, Individual Religious Acts Survey Questions and Individual Spiritual Acts Survey Questions

                         SWLS1         SWLS2         SWLS3         SWLS4           SWLS5
 

RELTOT
Pearson Correlation                                                          .303+
N                                                                                          32

R9A
Pearson Correlation                                        350*          .484*
N                                                                       32              32

R9C 
Pearson Correlation           .       296+                           .    301+ 
N                                                  32                                     32

R10
Pearson Correlation           .       303+              .362*          .472*             .338+ 
N                                                  32                     32             32                32

R10A
Pearson Correlation                                           421*
N                                                                          32

R11A
Pearson Correlation                 375*
N                                                32

R14 
Pearson Correlation 367*                                  .310+ 
N                               32                                        32

S22
Pearson Correlation                                           .323+
N                                                                           32

S26
Pearson Correlation                                           .303+
N                                                                           32

S28
Pearson Correlation                       343*            .340+ 
N                                                     32               32

S29
Pearson Correlation509*          .539*            .608*           .410*            .476*
N                               32             32                  32              32                 32
 
 

Note. + Approaching Significance at p < .10 level
* Significant at p < .05 level
RELTOTóReligious Acts Survey Total 
R9a-R14-Religious Acts Questions
SPIRTOT-Spiritual Act Survey Total 
S22-S29-Spiritual Acts Questions
SWLS1-Satisfaction with Life Scale Question #1
SWLS2-Satisfaction with Life Scale Question #2
SWLS3-Satisfaction with Life Scale Question #3
SWLS4-Satisfaction with Life Scale Question #4
SWLS5-Satisfaction with Life Scale Question #5
 
 

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Appendices
Appendix A

RELIGIOUS ACTS SURVEY

DIRECTIONS: PLEASE ANSWER EACH QUESTION TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY BY EITHER CIRCLING THE BEST ANSWER OR WRITING IN THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION.

 1.  What is your gender?

 MALE  FEMALE

2. What is your age?

3. What is your year in school?
FRESH SOPH  JR SN
4. What is your major?
_________________________________________________________________
5. How long have you attended Catholic or Christian schools?

6. What faith do you belong to?

DIRECTIONS: PLEASE RATE EACH STATEMENT ON A SCALE OF 1-7 WITH 1 BEING NEGATIVE AND 7 BEING AFFIRMATIVE.

7 ? STRONGLY AGREE
6 ? AGREE
5 ? SLIGHTLY AGREE
4 ? NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE
3 ? SLIGHTLY DISAGREE
2 ? DISAGREE
1 ? STRONGLY DISAGREE
 

7. I go to Services nearly every week. _____
 
 
 

7 ? STRONGLY AGREE
6 ? AGREE
5 ? SLIGHTLY AGREE
4 ? NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE
3 ? SLIGHTLY DISAGREE
2 ? DISAGREE
1 ? STRONGLY DISAGREE

8. If Catholic or Christian, I actively participate in Mass as a lector, Eucharistic Minister, alter server, or choir member. _____
9. I pray once or more times, almost every day. ______
9a.  When I pray I use different types of prayer such as mediation or prayer through song._______
9b.  I pray alone. _______
9c.  I pray in a group. _______
10. I go on a retreat one or more times a year. ______
10a.  I team lead retreats. ______
11. I participate in Bible study. ______
11a.  I am an active leader in my study group. ______
11b.  I actively participate in the discussions. ______
12. I discuss my faith with other people. ______
12a.  I engage in conversation about my faith solely with those I am close to. ______
13. I have been a religious education teacher. ______
14. I do or have spoken to a group of people about my beliefs? ______
15. I regularly receive the sacraments. ______
15a.  I receive the Eucharist almost every week. ______

7  STRONGLY AGREE
6  AGREE
5  SLIGHTLY AGREE
4  NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE
3  SLIGHTLY DISAGREE
2  DISAGREE
1  STRONGLY DISAGREE

15b.  I receive Reconciliation at least two times a year. ______
16. I listen to music written or performed by Christian Artists. ______
16a.  I own this type of music. ______
16b.  I listen to this music at least once a week. ______
17. Other then the Bible I read books or periodicals about religion. ______
17a.  They are leisure reading not class required reading. ______
18. In general I would say that religion plays a significant role in my life. ______
 
 

 Appendix B

SPIRITUAL ACTS SURVEY

DIRECTIONS:  PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTIONS OR STATEMENTS TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY BY CIRCLING OR WRITING IN THE ANSWER THAT BEST REPRESENTS YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.
PLEASE RATE EACH STATEMENT ON A SCALE OF 1-7:
7 ? STRONGLY AGREE
6 ? AGREE
5 ? SLIGHTLY AGREE
4 ? NEITHER AGREE OR DISAGREE
3 ? SLIGHTLY DISAGREE
2 ? DISAGREE
1 ? STRONGLY DISAGREE

1. I attend religious services 
NEVER 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 EVERYDAY

2. I have been attending the same religious organization for

Years____________    Months_____________

3. I have thought about examining or converting to another religion.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE 

4. I have converted from another religion to my present.

YES NO 

5. I have been a member of my previous religion for

Years____________     Months______________ N/A

6. I have previously made a clear and conscious distinction between religion and spirituality.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

7. I consider myself to be a religious person.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

8. I consider myself to be a spiritual person.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

9. I do not feel that it is necessary or appropriate to critically evaluate my religionís teachings. 

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

10. I do feel it is necessary and appropriate to critically evaluate my religionís teachings.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

11. I personally, do critically evaluate my own religion.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

12. I feel that my spirituality has influenced my personal growth (for example: stronger sense of self).

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

13. I feel that my spirituality enables me to feel more complete (whole).

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

14. I feel that my spirituality has helped me grow in many ways and aspects of my life.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

15. I consider some of my relationships with others as spiritual experiences.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

16. I feel that my relationships with others are central to my spirituality.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

17. I feel that nature and mother earth are central to my spirituality.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

18. I attend outside support groups or other organizations to further my spiritual growth.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

19. I rely solely on my organized religion for spiritual support.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

20. I am completely satisfied with the support I receive from my religion.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

21. I would like to seek outside support to further my spirituality.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE 

22. I believe that a community (religious or other) is necessary for spiritual fulfillment.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

23. I have been involved in pastoral counseling.

YES NO

24. I am satisfied with my experiences throughout the counseling.

YES NO N/A

25. I volunteer my time at my church or church related events.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

26. I volunteer my time in community service events.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

27. I try to live my life according to the golden rule "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE

28. I participate or have participated in the Spring Break Alternative program or Urban Immersion program?

NEVER 1   2   3   4  5  6  7 MULTIPLE TIMES

29. I feel that my participation in these programs has increased my spirituality.

STONGLY AGREE 1   2   3   4 5  6  7 STRONGLY DISAGREE
 Appendix C   http://psych.uiuc.edu/~ediener/hottopic/hottopic.html
 Appendix D

SUBJECT INSTRUCTIONS

 This study is part of a senior thesis project for a student in the psychology department at Saint Anselm College.
 Thank you for volunteering to participate in this study.  This study will be looking at the relationship between faith and life experience.
 In order to complete the study you will obtain a packet with three questionnaires: The Religious Acts Survey (RAS), The Spiritual Acts Survey (SAS), and The Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWLS).  When you receive your packet please make sure you have all three parts.  Once you have done this, please complete each survey answering the questions that pertain closest to your own thoughts and feelings.  Please read and follow the instructions on each survey.  When you have completed each part, please return the packet to me.
 You may decide to terminate your participation at any time during the assessment period.  If you agree to participate please fill out the Informed Consent Form.  If you have any questions please ask them at any time.  Thank you!

 Appendix E

INFORMED CONSENT AND RIGHTS OF RESEARCH PARTICIPATION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY AT SAINT ANSELM COLLEGE

 All Psychological research at Saint Anselm College is conducted according to strict ethical principles outlined by the American Psychological Association and is in full compliance with Federal Law.  The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, specifies that informed consent must be given prior to research studies, that is, " . . . the knowing consent of an individual of his legally authorized representative so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice without undue inducement or any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, or other form of constraint or coercion."
 Simply put, this means when you participate in any research study, you will be given clear explanation of the procedures involved.  You may ask for clarification either before or during the procedure, and you may terminate the procedure at any time.
 After having carefully read and considered the foregoing, I consent to participate in research activities according to the terms heretofore enumerated.

Date______________________ Signature_____________________________
Class/Student I.D.#__________________________Other_______________ 

Appendix F

DEBRIEFING STATEMENT

 Thank you again for participating in this study!  This study assessed the impact of religiosity and spirituality on life satisfaction in college students.  Past research has stated that people who are more religious (defined for the purpose of this study by attending Mass and knowing about their faith) along with those who are more spiritual (defined for the purpose of this study as how people put their faith into action) have greater satisfaction in their lives.  This study attempted to determine if the relationship was true and which of these two factors has a more significant impact on determining life satisfaction.
 It is important to remember that there are many different ways to measure life satisfaction and to understand this concept.  There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions.  The two surveys used are not necessarily the determining factor in life satisfaction because it is influenced through many different aspects.  I am looking at a specific angle of life experience.
 The information you provided will greatly assist in answering this these questions---you have been an enormous help!  The results of this study will be compiled at the end of this semester.  Since this is an ongoing study I would appreciate your cooperation by not speaking of the study until after Thanksgiving.  If you would like to know the outcome please feel free to contact me via e-mail: mcappell@anselm.edu or through Campus mail: Box #303. 
   Thanks again!
MaryAnne Cappelleri, Senior Psychology Student

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References
Ayele, H., Mulligan, T., Gheorghiu, S., & Reyes-Ortiz, C.  (1999).  Religious Activity Improves Life Satisfaction for Some Physicians and Older Patients.  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 47, 453-455.

Chumbler, N. R.  (1996).  The Empirical Test of a Theory of Factors Affecting Life Satisfaction: Understanding the Role of Religious Experience.  Journal of Psychology and Theology, 24, 220-232.

Diener, E., Emmons,R., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S.  (1985).  The Satisfaction With Life Scale.  Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.

Diener, E., & Pavot.  (1993).  Satisfaction With Life Scale.  http://www.psych.uiuc.edu/~ediener/hottopic/hottopic.html. 

Dufton, B. D., & Perlman, D.  (1986).  The Association between Religiosity and the Purpose-in-Life Test: Does it Reflect Purpose of Satisfaction?.  Journal of Psychology and Theology, 14, 42-48.

Ellison, C. G., Gay, D. A., & Glass, T. A.  (1989).  Does Religious Commitment Contribute to Individual Life Satisfaction?  Social Forces, 68(1), 100-123.

Ellison, C. G.  (1991).  Religious Involvement and Subjective Well-Being.  Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 32, 80-99.

Feraca, K.  How Spirituality and Religion Affect Womenís Self Concept.  Undergraduate Research Thesis.  Saint Anselm College.  November, 1995.

Genia, V.  (1996).  I, E, Quest, and Fundamentalism as Predictors of Psychological and Spiritual Well-Being.  Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 35(1), 56-64. 

Hunsberger, B.  (1985).  Religion, Age, Life Satisfaction, and Perceived Sources of Religiousness: A Study of Older Persons.  Journal of Gerontology, 40, 615-620.

James, B.J., & Samuels, C. A.  (1999).  High Stress Life Events and Spiritual Development.  Journal of Psychology and Theology, 27(3), 250-260.

Knox, David, Langehough, S. O., Walters, C., & Rowley, M.  (1998).  Religiosity and Spirituality Among College Students.  College Student Journal, 32(3), 430-432.

Krause, N.  (1993).  Measuring Religiosity in Later Life.  Research on Aging, 15(2), 170-197.

Lewis, C. A., Lanigan, C., Joseph, S., & de Fockert, J.  (1997).  Religiosity and happiness: no evidence for an association among undergraduates.  Personality and Individual Differences, 22, 119-121.

Maltby, J., Lewis, C. A., & Way L. (1999).  Religious Orientation and Psychological Well-Being: The Role of the Frequency of Personal Prayer.  Journal of Health Psychology, 4, 363-378.

Markides, K. S., Levin, J. S., & Ray, L. A.  (1987).  Religion, Aging, and Life Satisfaction: An Eight-Year, Three-Wave Longitudinal Study.  The Gerontological Society of America, 27, 660-665.

Peacock, J. &  Poloma, M. M.  (1999).  Religiosity and Life Satisfaction Across the Life Course.  Social Indicators Research, 48, 321-345.

Prest, L. A., Russell, R., & DíSouza, H.  (1999).  Spirituality and Religion in Training, Practice and Personal Development.  Journal of Family Therapy, 21(1), 60-77.

Richards, P. S.  (1991).  Religious Devoutness in College Students: Relations With Emotional Adjustment and Psychological Separation From Parents.  Journal of Counseling Psychology, 38, 189-196.

Schafer, W. E.  (1997).  Religiosity, Spirituality, and Personal Distress Among College Students.  Journal of College Student Development, 38(6), 633-644.

Talbot, J.  The Relationship Between Religiosity and Life Satisfaction in College Students.  Undergraduate Research Thesis.  Saint Anselm College. November, 1995.
 
 
 
 
 

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