Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles
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Understanding College Students’ Search for Meaning and Purpose. Jennifer A. Lindholm University of California, Los Angeles. Research Questions. What role does spirituality play in the lives of today’s college students? What is the relationship between religiousness and spirituality?

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Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Understanding College Students’ Search

for Meaning and Purpose

Jennifer A. Lindholm

University of California, Los Angeles


Research questions

Research Questions

  • What role does spirituality play in the lives of today’s college students?

  • What is the relationship between religiousness and spirituality?

  • How do students’ spiritual qualities change during the college years?

  • What are institutions doing that aids or inhibits students in their spiritual quest?


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

What is Spirituality?

  • Points to our interiors

  • Is qualitative and affective

  • Involves our values, beliefs, meaning, and purpose

  • Has to do with our connectedness to others and the world around us

  • Refers to those elements of our lives that are difficult to define or put into words (e.g., intuition, creativity, inspiration, and the sacred)


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

“Big Questions”

Who am I?

What are my values?

Do I have a mission or purpose in life?

Why am I in college?

What kind of person do I want to become?

What sort of world do I want to help create?


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Assessing Spiritual and Religious Qualities

  • Guiding principles

  • The College Students’ Beliefs and Values (CSBV) Survey


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Design of the Study

  • Spring 2003: Surveyed 3,700 juniors

  • Winter 2003: Interviewed 90 students

  • Fall 2004: Surveyed 112,000 freshmen

  • Spring 2007: Followed up 15,000 juniors

  • AY 2004-05: Surveyed 61,000 faculty

  • AY 2008-09: Interviewed 50 students and faculty

  • Summer 2010: Surveyed 750 campuses re. practices


Indicators of spirituality

Indicators of Spirituality

  • Have an interest in spirituality81%

  • Believe in the sacredness of life84%

  • My spirituality is a source of joy64%

  • Searching for meaning/purpose in life76%

  • Discuss meaning of life with friends74%

  • Spiritual experience: witnessing nature62%

  • Spiritual experience: listening to music58%

  • Seeking opportunities to grow spiritually47%


Indicators of religiousness

Indicators of Religiousness

  • Attended religious services 81%

  • Discussed religion/spirituality 80%

  • Believe in God 79%

  • Pray 69%

  • Religious beliefs: strength, support, guidance 68%

  • Follow religious teaching in everyday life 40%


Expectations for college

Expectations for College

  • Encourage personal expression of spirituality48%

  • Enhance self-understanding69%

  • Prepare for responsible citizenship67%

  • Develop personal values67%

  • Provide for emotional development63%


Religious commitment

Religious Commitment


Religious engagement

Religious Engagement


Religious social conservatism

Religious/Social Conservatism


Religious struggle

Religious Struggle


Religious skepticism

Religious Skepticism


Changes in religiousness during college

Changes in Religiousness During College

  • Increase inReligious Struggle

  • Decrease inReligious Engagement and Religious/Social Conservatism

  • No change inReligious Commitment orReligious Skepticism


Spiritual quest

Spiritual Quest


Equanimity

Equanimity


Charitable involvement

Charitable Involvement


Ethic of caring

Ethic of Caring


Ecumenical worldview

Ecumenical Worldview


How do we define spirituality

How Do We Define Spirituality?

Spirituality is a multifaceted quality that involves:

  • an active quest for answers to life’s “big questions”;

  • a global worldview that transcends ethnocentrism and egocentrism;

  • a sense of caring and compassion for others coupled with a lifestyle that includes service to others; and

  • a capacity to maintain one’s sense of calm and centeredness, especially in times of stress.


Spiritual qualities showing increases during college

Spiritual Qualities Showing Increases During College

  • Spiritual Quest

  • Equanimity

  • Ethic of Caring

  • Ecumenical Worldview


Faculty effects on students spiritual development

Faculty Effects on Students’ Spiritual Development

  • Direct encouragement

  • Reflective writing and journaling

  • Collaborative group projects

  • Contemplative practices in class


Other positive influences on spiritual growth

Other Positive Influences on Spiritual Growth

  • Service learning

  • Interdisciplinary courses

  • Study abroad programs

  • Leadership training

  • Student organizations

  • Interracial interaction

  • Meditation/contemplation

  • Charitable giving


Negative influences on spiritual growth

Negative Influences on Spiritual Growth

  • Watching television

  • Playing video games


Effects of major on spiritual development

Effects of Major on Spiritual Development

  • POSITIVE: fine arts, health professions, biological sciences, social sciences

  • NEGATIVE: engineering, mathematics, physical science, other technical fields


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

How does spiritual growth affect traditional college outcomes?


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Growth in Spiritual QualitiesPromotes:

  • Academic achievement (GPA)

  • Aspirations for advanced degrees

  • Psychological well-being

  • Leadership self-concept

  • Self-perceived ability to get along with persons

  • from other races and cultures

  • Commitment to promoting racial understanding

  • Satisfaction with college


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

What do these findings mean for campuses?


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Educator Responses


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

Considering Possibilities

  • Offering opportunities for spiritual reflection and discussion during student orientation and other programming initiatives

  • Establishing places for reflection and quiet dialogue on campus

  • Incorporating discussions of spirituality in living and learning communities and residence halls

  • Developing guiding principles to facilitate conversations on spirituality

  • Creating professional development programs to prepare faculty, staff, and peer leaders to participate in and facilitate discussions on spiritual issues


Jennifer a lindholm university of california los angeles

For More Details, Please Visit Our Project Website

www.spirituality.ucla.edu


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