The Dynamic Universal Profiles of Spiritual Awareness: A Latent Profile Analysis
The aim of the current investigation was to identify universal profiles of lived spirituality. A study on a large sample of participants (N = 5512) across three countries, India, China, and the United States, suggested there are at least five cross-cultural phenotypic dimensions of personal spiritual capacity—spiritual reflection and commitment; contemplative practice; perception of interconnectedness; perception of love; and practice of altruism—that are protective against pathology in a
... athology in a community sample and have been replicated in matched clinical and non-clinical samples. Based on the highest frequency combinations of these five capacities in the same sample, we explored potentially dynamic profiles of spiritual engagement. We inductively derived five profiles using Latent Profile Analysis (LPA): non-seeking; socially disconnected; spiritual emergence; virtuous humanist; and spiritually integrated. We also examined, in this cross-sectional data, covariates external to the LPA model which measure disposition towards meaning across two dimensions: seeking and fulfillment, of which the former necessarily precedes the latter. These meaning covariates, in conjunction with cross-profile age differences, suggest the profiles might represent sequential phases along an emergent path of spiritual development. Subsequent regression analyses conducted to predict depression, anxiety, substance-related disorders, and positive psychology based on spiritual engagement profiles revealed the spiritually integrated profile was most protected against psychopathology, while the spiritual emergence profile was at highest risk. While this developmental process may be riddled with struggle, as evidenced by elevated rates of psychopathology and substance use in the intermediate phases, this period is a transient one that necessarily precedes one of mental wellness and resilience—the spiritual development process is ultimately buoyant and protective.