Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 757-774

First online:

Institutional and Personal Spirituality/Religiosity and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescence: Concurrent and Longitudinal Associations

  • Marie GoodAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock UniversityDepartment of Psychology, University of Toronto Email author 
  • , Teena WilloughbyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Spirituality/religiosity is hypothesized to promote positive adjustment among adolescents. The goals of this study were to assess the unique and joint associations between two dimensions of spirituality/religiosity—institutional and personal—and a range of domains of psychosocial adjustment (intrapersonal well-being, quality of parent–child relationship, substance use, and academic orientation) and to evaluate the direction of effects in these associations. Participants included 803 predominately Canadian-born adolescents (53 % female) from Ontario, Canada, who completed a survey in grade 11 and grade 12. At the concurrent level, higher personal spirituality/religiosity consistently and uniquely predicted more positive adjustment in terms of well-being, parental relationship, and academic orientation. Higher institutional spirituality/religiosity uniquely and consistently predicted lower substance use, particularly when personal spirituality/religiosity also was high. With regard to the direction of effects (i.e., longitudinal associations), institutional spirituality/religiosity predicted lower future substance use. The results imply that the personal and institutional dimensions of spirituality/religiosity may be associated differentially with psychosocial adjustment, and it may be only in the domain of substance use that spirituality/religiosity predicts change in behavior over time.


Religion Spirituality Direction of effects Psychosocial adjustment Substance use