Higher Education

, Volume 69, Issue 6, pp 977–990 | Cite as

The relationship between spirituality and quality of life among university students: An autoregressive cross-lagged panel analysis

  • Wilfred W. F. Lau
  • C. Harry Hui
  • Jasmine Lam
  • Esther Y. Y. Lau
  • Shu-Fai Cheung


University represents a critical transition from secondary school. University students are exposed to many new opportunities and intellectual stimulations, and some may find university life stressful and demanding. The quality of life (QoL) of university students is thus an important topic for researchers and educators alike. Furthermore, many universities are now paying attention to the spirituality of students, besides emphasizing their cognitive and psychosocial development. Using a sample of 1,160 Chinese university students mainly recruited from Hong Kong, this autoregressive cross-lagged panel study investigated a causal model of spirituality and QoL over a 3-year period. The study also tested the causal model for factorial invariance (configural, measurement, and structural invariance) across gender, religion, and time. Results indicated that spirituality was a causal predictor of QoL but not vice versa. There was some evidence to support factorial invariance of the model across gender, religion, and time. The theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.


Longitudinal study Causality Spirituality Quality of life University students 



We thank Prof. Ralph L. Piedmont for his permission to translate and use the Spirituality Transcendence Scale. We are grateful for the contribution of Doris Ng in reviewing the many spirituality measures, identifying, and translating the STS, as well as in data collection. Doris Mok and Eddie Ng contributed to the planning at the initial stage of this project. Hollace Chait, Stephanie Lam, Tina Lau, and Victoria Leung assisted in the literature review. Sing-hang Cheung provided useful inputs during our research meetings. To all of them, we express our gratitude.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilfred W. F. Lau
    • 1
  • C. Harry Hui
    • 2
  • Jasmine Lam
    • 2
  • Esther Y. Y. Lau
    • 2
  • Shu-Fai Cheung
    • 3
  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyThe University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyThe University of MacauMacau SARChina

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