Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 215–229 | Cite as

Religion, Spirituality, and Positive Psychology in Adulthood: A Developmental View

  • James M. Day


For decades, psychologists have been interested in the question whether, and how, religious and spiritual behavior, in terms of beliefs, attitudes, practices, and belonging, could be scientifically studied and assessed in terms of their relative good, or ill, for human well-being. This article considers contributions of religious commitment and spiritual practice to well-being and cognitive-developmental theoretical models and related bodies of empirical and clinical research regarding religious and spiritual development across the life cycle, with particular attention to questions related to positive adult development.


Positive psychology Religious development Spiritual development Human development 



I am grateful to Jan D. Sinnott for her editorial guidance, to two anonymous reviewers for their comments, and to The National Science Foundation of the USA, the Fond National de la Recherche Scientifique of Belgium, and The Metanexus Institute of the John Templeton Foundation for their support of the research at Louvain, and the Louvain-Harvard Project in Cognitive Complexity and Religious Cognition, mentioned in this article, and travel to scholarly meetings.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Human Development Laboratory & Psychology of Religion Research CenterUniversite Catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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