The psychological salience of religiosity and spirituality among Christian young people in New Zealand: A mixed-methods study
This mixed-methods exploratory study examined the psychological salience of religiosity and spirituality in a sample of young people (ages 16–21, M age = 18.9 years; SD = 1.36) from New Zealand. Participants completed a cross-sectional online questionnaire with both qualitative and quantitative questions that assessed subjective perceptions of religion and spirituality and theoretically linked social and cognitive (motivation and identity) factors associated with the psychological salience of religiosity/spirituality. The results showed considerable overlap in participants’ conceptualization of religiosity and spirituality as the two constructs related to participants’ faith; yet, the sample had greater affinity for spirituality than religiosity. Relationship quality and religious/spiritual support from family and friends were associated with a stronger community connection. This was associated with participants’ spiritual identity and extrinsic motivation to be involved in religious activities, which in turn predicted greater religious/spiritual salience. The findings replicate previous research in the relationship between religiosity and spirituality in Christian samples, and also breaks new ground in the conceptualization of the psychological salience of religiosity/spirituality and in identifying community connection as a link to increased religious/spiritual identity and motivation among adolescents and young adults.