Empirical knowledge on what specific aspects of mental health are associated with spirituality is limited, and explanations for the mechanisms underlying this association is scarce. Furthermore, there is limited research on this association among individuals from non-Christian religious backgrounds and non-Western countries. The current study examined relations between spirituality and aspects of mental health in 1,544 adolescents from diverse religious backgrounds in two Eastern countries, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Additionally, we examined mediating and moderating factors. Adolescents (58% female) ages 11-15 years completed a questionnaire on aspects of their mental health, spirituality, and self-control abilities. Results showed that spirituality had a significant positive association with life satisfaction and a significant negative association with internalizing problems, but a non-significant relation with externalizing problems, controlling for age, gender, and socioeconomic status. Self-control completely mediated the association between spirituality and life satisfaction, and this mediational relation was only present for adolescents from the UAE. Results support prior research suggesting positive associations between spirituality and adaptive mental health outcomes and extend these findings to adolescents from diverse religious backgrounds in non-Western countries. These findings have important clinical and policy implications for supporting the role of spirituality in an adolescent's life.
- mental health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health