“Children of a Lesser God:” The Effects of Communication and Interaction Patterns on Student Spiritual Identity at a Church-Related University

G. L. Forward, Jenay Moore, Megan Richardson, Marie Shimansky


Social identity theory provides a frame for studying the relationship between communication and interaction patterns and college student spirituality. In this project we measured the self-perceived spirituality, personal attitudes toward self and others, and communication of a convenience sample of N=149 college students at a private, four-year, church-related institution in southern California. We found that traditionalism, a stable belief in the values and attitudes reflected in how one is raised, explained 60% of student spirituality scores. Gregariousness, the measure of connectedness a participant feels to a group or to the institution, explained an additional 5.2% of student spirituality. Additional post hoc analysis revealed a statistically significant negative association between rebelliousness and both traditionalism and spirituality scores. We also utilized two t-Tests to compare lower and upper class students, as well as females and males, on the variables of interest. Upper class students reported higher scores on spirituality, life satisfaction, gregariousness, positive attitude toward tradition, and self-disclosure whereas lower class members scored higher only in rebelliousness. In addition, females scored higher on all of the variables measured in comparison to males, with the exception of rebelliousness. Findings demonstrated that education at a private Christian institution did not erode student spirituality and may have strengthened spirituality over the four year period.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/smc.v2i1.326


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Studies in Media and Communication      ISSN 2325-8071 (Print)   ISSN 2325-808X (Online)

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