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The authors examined the structure and content of adults’ sense of spiritual identity by analyzing semistructured interviews with 13 spiritually devout men and 15 devout women, ages 22 to 72. Individuals’ responses to the Role-Related Identity Interview (G. T. Sorell, M. J. Montgomery, & N. A. Busch-Rossnagel, 1997b) were content analyzed and rated on the role-related spiritual identity dimensions of role salience and flexibility. Individuals were categorized as spiritually foreclosed, achieved, or in moratorium, on the basis of their motivational, affective, self-evaluative, and behavioral investments in spiritually defined roles and their reflectiveness about and behavioral changes in role-related spiritual identity. Similarities and differences within and between spiritual identity status groups were observed, suggesting a variety of ways that spiritual identity provides a sense of continuity as well as a domain for adult developmental change.


Originally published in Journal of Developmental Psychology, Volume 42 Issue 6, 2006.

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