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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effects of perceived age, religiosity, and spirituality on subjective well-being in middle and later life
by Park, Ji Sung, Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2011, 206; 3466754
Abstract (Summary)

The primary goal of this study was to investigate whether religiosity and spirituality help people to adjust well in the face of stressful life experiences that may be associated with aging in middle and later years, and whether these factors can play an effective role as coping mechanisms to reduce the potential negative impact of perceived age on subjective well-being. The study also examined how religiosity and spirituality were related to perceived age and what impact religiosity and spirituality had on subjective well-being in middle and later life, controlling for effects of demographic and socioeconomic status. A total of 1,671 respondents aged 40 to 84 were selected from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS), 2004-2006. This study employed a cross-sectional design and applied multivariate regression analyses including ordinary least squares and hierarchical multiple regressions. The moderating role of religiosity and spirituality on the relationship between perceived age and subjective well-being were examined by interaction effects.

Results supported the findings of current literature that people tend to experience greater subjective well-being when they felt younger and had greater acceptance of older age relative to their current age. Greater engagement with both religiosity and spirituality was related to greater acceptance of relatively older age, whereas only greater spirituality was related to feeling younger about one's age. Greater religiosity and spirituality were also associated with greater subjective well-being in general but were not related to negative affect. One of the key findings of this study was that daily spiritual experiences and mindfulness played a role as effective coping mechanisms to reduce the negative effects of feeling old on negative affect and rating of life in middle and later years. Neither religiosity nor spirituality moderated the relationship between desired age and subjective well-being in the present sample. The findings of the present study will contribute to expanding the scope of social work services by addressing the role of daily spiritual experiences and mindfulness as effective coping mechanisms to improve subjective well-being in middle and later years. Implications for social work practice and future research were discussed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hagen, Jan L., Smith, Carolyn
Commitee: Ward, Russell
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Social Welfare
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Gerontology, Social work, Spirituality
Keywords: Coping, Middle and later life, Perceived age, Religiosity, Spirituality, Subjective well-being
Publication Number: 3466754
ISBN: 978-1-124-80445-3
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