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Church Involvement, Spiritual Growth, Meaning in Life, and Health

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image of Archive for the Psychology of Religion

Summary The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship between involvement in three aspects of congregational life and spiritual growth. In addition, an effort is made to see if spiritual growth may, in turn, affect health. A latent variable model was developed to test the following hypotheses: (1) individuals who attend worship services more often, attend Bible study and prayer group meetings more frequently, and individuals who receive more spiritual support from fellow church members will be more likely to report they have experienced spiritual growth; (2) people who experience more spiritual growth will be more likely to derive a deeper sense of meaning in life; and (3) individuals who have developed a deeper sense of meaning in life will enjoy better health. Data from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey suggests that spiritual support has the stronger relationship with spiritual growth than either worship service attendance or involvement in formal church groups. The findings further reveal that greater spiritual growth is associated with a deeper sense of meaning in life and meaning, in turn, is associated with better health.


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