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May have no identifying marks on the inside cover. The LOT-R has been used in hundreds of studies and has been consistently found to be a reliable and valid scale e. In the current study, Cronbach Alphas were acceptable from 0. Then, we computed a total optimism score for each participant at each time point by averaging the 10 items.

We assessed spirituality with four different self-report scales. Items were rated on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 never true to 5 always true.


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Past studies have found this scale to be reliable and valid e. On this basis, we computed a total score for each participant at each time point by averaging the items. The DUREL consists of two items tapping participation in organized and non-organized religion practices, e. Items related to frequency of practice are scored on a 6-point scale, ranging from 1 rarely or never to 6 more than once a day.

The remaining items are scored on a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 definitely not true to 5 definitely true of me. Previous studies have provided evidence on the reliability and validity of this scale e. Fourth, participants completed four items from the Spiritual Transcendence Scale STS: Piedmont, , tapping the ability to view life from a more objective perspective, to perceive the fundamental unity in the world, and to see a larger meaning in human existence.

We computed total scores for each participant at each time point by averaging items in the scale. Subjective well-being was assessed with two scales tapping the two indicators of this construct: positive emotions and life satisfaction. Using a 5-point scale, ranging from 1 very slightly to 5 very much , participants rated the extent to which five adjectives representing positive emotions describe themselves over the last few weeks. For the present study, we only rely on these five positive emotions items, since we mainly focus on the link between spirituality and subjective well-being Smith et al.

The Cronbach alphas for this subscale were acceptable from 0. On this basis, we computed a total score for each participant at each time point by adding the five items. There are five items in the scale e. Previous studies have found the SWLS to have high reliability and validity e. This subscale includes five items e. Previous studies have provided evidence on the reliability and validity of this subscale e. On this basis, we computed a total score for each participant at each time point by summing up the five items.


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In order to assess our hypothesis that spirituality is a discrete aspect of youth character strengths, we conducted an exploratory factor analysis principal axis factoring on the 24 VIA strengths, the optimism score, and the five spirituality scores from Time 1. Results indicated that five factors had eigenvalues greater than 1 ranging from Therefore, we retained the four-factor solution and rotated these factors using non-orthogonal, direct oblimin rotation. Six items loaded lower than 0.

These items were thus dropped and the remaining 24 items were reanalyzed. This yielded a clear four-factor solution with eigenvalues ranging from 7.

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All loadings were higher than 0. As reported Table 1 , this analysis yielded four factors labeled Interpersonal strengths, spirituality, intrapersonal strengths, and intellectual strengths. The factors representing interpersonal, intrapersonal, and intellectual strengths included all VIA scores retained, with the exception of the VIA spirituality score. The optimism LOT-R score loaded on the intrapersonal strengths factor, and the spirituality factor included the VIA spirituality score and scores on intrinsic religiosity, personal devotion, religious practice, and faith maturity scales. Factor correlations indicated that the spirituality factor was moderately associated with the intrapersonal strengths factor 0.

The other three strengths factors showed stronger correlations between them ranging from 0. The emergence of a spirituality factor incorporating the various aspects of spirituality and separated from other character strengths supported the hypothesis that spirituality is a unique, although related, aspect of youth character strengths.

Spiritual Formation at Prestoncrest

To confirm the four-factor structure described above, we then conducted a series of multi-group confirmatory factor analyses CFA that tested configural invariances across boys and girls. Given the large sample size, non-significant chi-square values were interpreted cautiously. To further explore the associations of the spirituality measures and the other character strengths, we conducted a LCA to select the best fitting categorization of participants. This analysis built upon the factor analytic model described above and added a fifth latent categorical variable that predicted means levels on each of the four factors.

A series of models with the number of groups varying from 3 to 6 were run. Following Nylund et al. Although inferential log-likelihood tests suggested that a five-latent class model fit the data best, this model had higher BIC, lower membership probabilities, and extremely small class sizes, suggesting that it was likely over-parameterized. A model with four latent classes provided the best balance between fit and parsimony, as indicated by BIC, entropy, membership probabilities, and class sizes see Table 2.

Table 2. Model fit and summary statistics for LCA models classifying participants according to their scores in the spirituality and the other three character strengths factors. Of note, LCA analysis did not identify a latent class with participants scoring high on spirituality and low on the other three strengths factors, suggesting that most of the spiritually involved participants also scored high on other character strengths.

In fact, the latent class with the highest level of spirituality included participants who scored high on the intrapersonal strengths factor. Figure 1. Differences between four latent classes on mean levels of each underlying continuous latent factor of positive character at Time 1.

What is “Spiritual Formation?”

Scores represent standardized Z scores on the latent variable representing each facet of character. To examine the extent to which spirituality in adolescence is stable over time, we first assessed the structural stability of the four-factor structure described in Table 1 by subjecting all variables to a CFA at Time 2 9 months later and Time 3 14 months later. In order to examine within-participant stability in spirituality over time, we estimated a full SEM model with the five spirituality variables that loaded high on the spirituality factor.

In this model, all spirituality variables at each time point are assumed to load on a latent variable of spirituality, and stability was assessed through the standardized coefficient predicting latent spirituality at Time 2 from latent spirituality at Time 1, and latent spirituality at Time 3 from latent spirituality at Time 2. We also compared stability estimates for the other three character strengths factors.

That is, spirituality in adolescence was largely stable over a 1-year period, and perhaps even more stable than other character strengths.


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Pearson correlations were computed in order to assess cross-sectional associations between spirituality, on the one hand, and positive emotions, life satisfaction, and prosocial behavior, on the another, at each wave of measurement. Although there were some differences between the three time points, spirituality was found to correlate significantly but moderately with heightened life satisfaction 0.

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We also computed multiple regressions examining the unique contribution of spirituality beyond and above the contribution of the other three high-order character strengths. Table 3. Means, SDs, and ANOVas statistics of subjective well-being and prosociality at Time 1 according to groups derived from LCA performed on spiritual, intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intellectual character strengths at Time 1. To explore the temporal pattern of the relationships of spirituality with subjective well-being and prosociality, we modeled the changes in spirituality across the three waves using a latent growth mixture model.

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This analysis built upon the factor analytic model of spirituality described above, and modeled individual growth trajectories intercept and slope on the latent spirituality factor. For each participant, a latent individualized intercept and slope that best describe their baseline and rate of change were estimated.

These individual growth trajectories were regressed on a categorical latent factor representing particular class memberships LCA analysis. Then, an optimal mean slope and intercept for each class was estimated using maximum likelihood estimation. Model fit was assessed with the same LCA criteria described in the previous section. Results indicated that a four class latent model fit the data best, as evidenced by low BIC, high membership probabilities, reasonable class sizes, and high entropy.

This was confirmed by inferential log-likelihood tests, including bootstrapping see Table 4. Table 4. Model fit and summary statistics for LGMM models assigning group membership on the basis of individual spirituality growth curves. We then conducted ANOVAs comparing these groups on positive emotions, life satisfaction, and prosociality at each time point. As can be seen in Table 5 , participants in Class 1 high and increasing spirituality reported higher life satisfaction and higher positive emotions at the three times point and higher prosociality at Times 2 and 3 than participants in Class 4 low and stable spirituality.

The high-average and low-average spirituality groups fell somewhere in between. Thus it appears that spirituality is longitudinally related to life satisfaction, positive emotions, and prosociality, and that participants with spiritual growth reported the highest levels of these variables.