Ageing International

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 311–330 | Cite as

Religion and Spirituality: A Qualitative Study of Older Adults

  • Rhonda ShawEmail author
  • Judith Gullifer
  • Katie Wood


Theories of ageing have suggested that many older adults adopt different strategies to enhance the experience of ageing. The current study was designed to explore the perceived role of religion and spirituality as a person ages. Eight older adults, four men and four women, aged from 67 to 80 years, participated in semi-structured interviews. The results from a thematic analysis revealed three manifest themes (defining religion and spirituality, the spiritual journey and being older but not feeling older) and one latent theme (faith). Religion and spirituality can play an important role in guiding the lives of older adults as well as helping them establish meaning in their lives and to cope with adverse situations. The results show that the participants see older adulthood as a period of spiritual growth and development which provides a means of compensating for losses that can result from physical decline.


Religion Spirituality Faith Older age Growth Development 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Charles Sturt UniversityPort MacquarieAustralia

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