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Investigating the importance of relating with God for school students' spiritual well-being

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Fisher's spiritual well-being (SWB) questionnaires assessed students' levels of relationship in four domains, namely with themselves, others, the environment and with a Transcendent Other (commonly called God). Students also reported the extent to which different entities helped them develop relationships in the four domains of SWB. However, emphasis here will be on the transcendental domain of SWB, i.e., relation with God. Levels of perceived help for relating with God (from mothers, friends, themselves, teachers, RE teachers and God) varied significantly between schools, in line with students' self reports of relationship with God, i.e. Christian > Catholic > independent (> government) schools. Contrary to the students' claims that teachers, especially RE teachers, provided major help for them in relating with God, other factors provided greater explanation of observed statistical variance. The 'importance of religion' and direct 'help from God' were key factors, together with how well students 'help themselves'. It is not surprising, therefore, that school ethos, which is influenced by teachers and religious affiliation of students, plays a vital role in fostering students' relationship with God, for their spiritual well-being.
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Keywords: assessing spiritual well-being; relating with God; teachers' role

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Education, University of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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