Objective: Intimacy is an essential part of marital relationships, spiritual relationships, and is also a factor in well-being. There is little research simultaneously examining the links among spiritual intimacy (defined as positive religious coping and a relationship with God), relational intimacy, and well-being. Data from the Adventist Health Study-2’s Biopsychosocial Religion and Health Study (AHS-2 BRHS) were analyzed to first examine these links, and then to examine whether religious variables predict positive and negative perceptions of one’s spouse.
Design: Structural equation modeling was used to examine associations among spiritual intimacy, relational intimacy, spiritual meaning, and well-being in a cross-sectional study of 5,720 married adults aged 29-100 years. Also, positive and negative spouse characteristics were regressed on control variables and 16 religious variables. This sample included 6,683 married adults aged 29-100 years.
Results: In the original structural model all direct associations between spiritual intimacy, relational intimacy, and well-being were significant and positive. With spiritual meaning as a mediating variable, the direct connections of spiritual intimacy to relational intimacy and to well-being became weakly negative. However, the indirect associations of spiritual intimacy with well-being were strongly positive through spiritual meaning.
Positive spouse characteristics were most strongly related to higher gratitude and lower negative religious coping; and negative spouse characteristics to greater negative religious coping and less gratitude. The higher participants rated their spouse’s religiosity the better they rated their spouse. Conversely, the higher participants rated their own religiosity the worse they rated their spouse. For some religion variables there were gender and ethnic differences in prediction of spouse characteristics.
Conclusion: These findings suggest the central place of spiritual meaning in understanding the relationship of spiritual intimacy with marital intimacy and to well-being. They also suggest that individual religious variables have a strong association with how one views one’s spouse, and thus need to be considered as important factors in relational intimacy. They also affirm the interplay of spiritual intimacy with relational intimacy and the need to consider both gender and ethnicity as contributing factors.
|Advisor:||Lee, Jerry W.|
|Commitee:||Marshak, Helen H., Martin, Leslie R.|
|School:||Loma Linda University|
|Department:||Health Promotion and Education|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Individual & family studies, Spirituality, Health education|
|Keywords:||Intimacy, Marriage, Relationships, Spirituality, Well-being|
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