Spiritual wellbeing and its relationship to adolescent resilience. A case study of Australian youth attending one local church


Smith, Lindsay Mervyn. (2010). Spiritual wellbeing and its relationship to adolescent resilience. A case study of Australian youth attending one local church [Thesis]. https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a96088dc6843
AuthorsSmith, Lindsay Mervyn
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships and connections within the family and the local Christian church community influencing spiritual wellbeing of young people engaged with Christian spirituality. Questions have arisen recently about the role of spiritual wellbeing in strengthening resilience of youth. To explore this association, this research focused on the relationships and connectedness of people who attend one religious organisation as one means of enhancing their spiritual wellbeing. Two separate but complementary theories underpinned this research: the bioecological theory of human development (Bronfenbrenner 2001a) and the international family strengths model (DeFrain & Asay 2007a). In line with the purposes of an instrumental case study, different sources of data (quantitative and qualitative) were collected on the phenomenon of interest— spiritual wellbeing. Utilising a survey method, a theoretical purposive sample of sixty five people participated in this study. Through an abductive analysis process, the research identified a model of five spiritual strengths that enhance peace and life satisfaction and strengthen youth resilience within the lives of the young people in this study. Spiritual wellbeing and resilience were shown to be interrelated and ecologically bound. This case study presents one possible explanation for the often observed yet poorly understood relationship between spiritual wellbeing and positive youth outcomes, such as resilience. The author recommends measurement of resilience and strategies that aim to strengthen youth resilience should include spiritual wellbeing however, further research is required that considers how best to incorporate spiritual wellbeing into both resilience measures and health promoting strategies. It is also recommended that replica studies with people who belong to other spirituality types, and who may implement differing spiritual practices, are needed to test the proposed model of spiritual strengths and the identified relationship to resilience.

PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4226/66/5a96088dc6843
Research GroupInstitute for Social Justice
Final version
Publication dates02 Dec 2010
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