248072 Religious affiliation, spirituality, and health among young adolescents

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 1:20 PM

Scott Frank, MD, MS , Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Purpose: Describe the relationship of religious affiliation and spiritual wellness with adolescent health. Background: Religion and spirituality have been identified as key protective assets for adolescent health, but their relative contribution to health remains unclear. Methods: Cross sectional survey of (n=713) 7th and 8th grade students in a Midwestern inner-ring suburb. Whole school computer-administered youth risk behavior survey based instrument with response rate of 90.5%. Brief Assessment of Spiritual Insight and Commitment (BASIC) is a 14-item multidimensional instrument addressing 7 domains of spiritual wellness: faith, community, control, meaning, forgiveness, peace, and love. Cronbach's alpha= .91 with all items contributing. Results: There was no significant difference in religious affiliation or spiritual wellness by gender. White race and higher SES had higher religious affiliation (p ≤ .026; p ≤ .001) and spiritual wellness (both p ≤ .001). Religious affiliation was related to spiritual wellness (p ≤ .026) but not associated with better health risk behaviors. Higher spiritual wellness was strongly associated with less substance use including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants and prescription drugs; less violence and sexual activity; better mental health and health quality of life (all p ≤ .001). Teens with higher spiritual wellness also reported less parental permissiveness, higher parental involvement, and a positive linear relationship with other developmental assets (all p ≤ .001). Conclusion: Spiritual wellness as measured by the BASIC survey showed substantial relationships with adolescent health, while religious affiliation did not. The role of supporting spiritual wellness as a mechanism to improve teen health should be explored.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
1. Define religious affiliation and spiritual wellness. 2. List domains of spiritual wellness 3. Describe the psychometric characteristics of the Brief Assessment of Spiritual Insight and Commitment (BASIC) instrument. 4. Compare the relative impact of religious affiliation and spiritual wellness among young adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Templeton Award recipient for medical school curriculum in faith, religion and health; an academic family physician; and public health practitioner, educator, and researcher. I serve as director of an MPH program, a local health department, and a community coalition.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.