New Queen's research study measures the positive benefits of spiritual health

Queen’s University post doctoral fellow Valerie Michaelson is exploring research around adolescents and spiritual health.  While spiritual health has long been recognized as important to health and well-being, there has been renewed interest in understanding what it is, and how it relates to the health of young people.

In a cross-national analysis, her team found that the importance of spiritual health decreases as children age, but for those who maintain its importance, the strong and positive health benefits are very provocative.

Spiritual health is defined as an awareness of the sacred qualities of life and is connected to experiences of compassion, wonder and the search for meaning. To measure it, they looked at connections in four domains: to 1) oneself; 2) to others; 3) to the natural world and 4) to some kind of larger meaning to life.

 “When people hear that we are studying spiritual health, they sometimes think that we are studying religion,” says Dr. Michaelson (Public Health Sciences, School of Religion). “Religious traditions can sometimes be vehicles for spiritual experiences and growth, but we view child spiritual health as a much more universal construct, one that can be experienced with or without a religious commitment.”

Read the full story in the Queen's Gazette.