Journal of Adult Development

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 79–94 | Cite as

Spiritual Development Across the Adult Life Course: Findings from a Longitudinal Study

  • Paul Wink
  • Michele Dillon


Longitudinal data spanning early (30s) and older (late 60s/mid-70s) adulthood were used to study spiritual development across the adult life course in a sample of men and women belonging to a younger (born 1928/29) and an older (born 1920/21) age cohort. All participants, irrespective of gender and cohort, increased significantly in spirituality between late middle (mid-50s/early 60s) and older adulthood. Members of the younger cohort increased in spirituality throughout the adult life cycle. In the second half of adulthood, women increased more rapidly in spirituality than men. Spiritual involvement in older age was predicted by religious involvement and personality characteristics in early adulthood and subsequent experiences of negative life events.

spiritual growth life-course social context negative life events cognitive commitment 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Wellesley CollegeWellesley
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of New HampshireDurham

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