Spirituality and its relation to mental health outcomes: An examination of youth in foster care

Kalani P. Makanui, Yo Jackson, Stephanie Gusler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The effects of spirituality and youth relationships with others on internalizing, externalizing, and adaptive outcomes were examined in a sample of 159 youth between the ages of 8 and 21 in foster or residential care. Indirect effects of direct coping and perceived social support on the relations between these factors and youth outcomes were examined. Preliminary analyses indicated a significant relation between youth spirituality and adaptive outcomes, with a significant indirect effect of perceived social support on these relations. However, these relations were nonsignificant when accounting for youth relationships with others. Final results indicated that youth relationships with others significantly affected youth adaptive functioning through both coping and perceived social support. Youth relationships also significantly affected youth internalizing symptoms, albeit only through youths' perceived levels of social support. These findings suggest that, while spiritual beliefs are potentially an important factor in affecting outcomes for foster youth, the strongest effects likely occur through youths' relationships with others, social support, and coping in relation to adaptive outcomes for these youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Religion and Spirituality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Religious studies
  • Applied Psychology


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