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The contributions of spirituality and religious practices to children's happiness

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Title: The contributions of spirituality and religious practices to children's happiness
Author: Wallace, Judith Maureen
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Interdisciplinary Studies
Copyright Date: 2010
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2010-02-10
Abstract: The relations between happiness and spirituality and religious practices in children aged 8-12 years were examined. Participants included 320 students in Grades 4-6 in both public and private (faith based) schools in Western Canada and their parents. Children rated their happiness using the Subjective Happiness Scale and the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, Short Form, their spirituality using the Spiritual Well-Being Questionnaire, and their religiousness using the Religious Practice Scale adapted from the Brief Multidimensional Measurement of Religiousness/Spirituality. In addition, parents rated their children’s happiness using the Faces Scale, a single-item measure. Bivariate correlations indicated religious practices were not related to children’s happiness. Multiple regression analyses indicated that spirituality accounted for between 5-25% of the variance in children’s happiness, depending on the person rating happiness (i.e., parents vs. children), and the happiness measure utilized. The Personal domain of spirituality accounted for a unique amount of the variance in children’s happiness over and above the combined effect of all spirituality variables, again depending on the person rating happiness (i.e., parents vs. children), and the happiness measure utilized. Children who reported higher levels of meaning, purpose, and values in their own life reported higher levels of happiness as rated by themselves and their parents. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that spirituality accounted for between 6-28% of the variance in children’s happiness, depending on the person rating happiness (i.e., parents vs. children), and the happiness measure utilized when gender and school were controlled for. Gender did not explain any of the happiness variance but school (public vs. private) did. The results of the current study parallel research investigating the relation between happiness and spirituality and religion in adolescents and adults. Limitations of the current study and future direction for research in spirituality and happiness are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/19996

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