Lege Artis Medicinae

[What makes youth happy today? Relationships between religion, spirituality and mental well-being among high school students]

PIKÓ Bettina, KOVÁCS Eszter, KRISTON Pálma

JUNE 20, 2014

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2014;24(05-06)

[INTRODUCTION - Studies suggest that traditional religiosity is more and more neglected among adolescents, however, not implying to the lack of religiousness or spirituality. Religion/spirituality is still a significant protective factor. Therefore, the main goal of the present paper was to analyze indicators of mental well-being in a sample of high school students in light of religious/spiritual variables. METHODS - The data collection of the questionnaire survey (2010) was going on among 656 high school students in Sze­- ged (age range between 14-21 years, mean=16.5 years, S.D.=1.5 years of age, 49.1% of the sample was female). Depressive symptomatology, satisfaction with life and optimism were dependent variables and indicators of spirituality/religiosity were the independent ones. Beyond descriptive statistics, correlation and multiple regression analyses (stepwise method) were applied in the calculations. RESULTS - Our results show that for today’s youth happiness is primarily associated with their existential well-being: those who see a meaning in life, who have goals in life and believe that they are able to see through and understand life events, tend to be more satisfied with life, more optimistic and less depressed. Besides, spiritual belief may also contribute to life satisfaction whereas importance of religiosity may be a protective factor in the case of depression. CONCLUSIONS - Based on these results we may conclude that existential well-being (that is, finding a meaning in life) is a prominent spiritual variable. Data also suggest, however, that youth’s mental well-being only partially comes from religiosity, mostly it stems from other resources. More research is needed to detect this. All in all, as it appears that youth do need a belief in a meaning in life, similar to other age groups.]

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