Skip to main content

Religiosity and Mental Health Among Young-Adults in Generation X from Emerging to Established Adulthood


This investigation examined how religiosity in the period of life ranging from emerging to established adulthood is associated with mental health. To address this issue, we examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of religiosity among young-adult Gen-Xers and mental health (psychological well-being, depression, and self-esteem) over this important stage of adulthood. We selected 510 young-adults participating in the Longitudinal Study of Generations surveyed in 2000 (18–29 years), 2005 (23–34 years), and 2016 (34–45 years). Latent class analysis identified three latent religious classes across the three waves: nonreligious, strongly religious, and spiritual-but-not-religious. Young-adult Gen-Xers in the strongly religious class across the three measurements generally reported better mental health when they reached established adulthood than those in the nonreligious class. Mental health in established adulthood was not significantly different between strongly religious and spiritual-but-not-religious individuals. Findings suggest that religiosity may serve as an important resource for mental health in the transition to established adulthood. Implications are discussed in the context of declining religiosity in the US over recent decades.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Download references


The project described was supported by Award Number 61457 from John Templeton Foundation (PI: Dr. Merril Silverstein) and R21AG064512 from National Institute on Aging (PI: Dr. Merril Silverstein).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Woosang Hwang.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hwang, W., Cheng, K.J., Kim, J.H. et al. Religiosity and Mental Health Among Young-Adults in Generation X from Emerging to Established Adulthood. J Adult Dev (2022).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI:


  • Generation X
  • Religiosity
  • Spiritual-but-not-religious
  • Mental health
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Established adulthood