Loyola University Maryland

Emerging Scholars

Inna Edara, K. Elizabeth Oakes, Ph.D.

image divider

Mediating Role of Culture in Spirituality’s Influence on Subjective Well-Being and Forgiveness

View the poster >>

This study investigated the moderating role of ethnic identity and mediating role of cultural orientation in the effects of spirituality on subjective well-being and forgiveness, along with the incremental validity of spirituality over and above personality and cultural orientation. Participants included 637 convenient sample and consisted of European Americans (n = 215), Asian Indian Americans (n = 208), Chinese Americans (n = 193), and others (n = 21). Sample average age was 50 and were generally evenly distributed among males (n = 284) and females (n = 353). The majority of the participants were married (74.3%), Catholic (73.6%), and had a Masters’ degree (44%). Participants completed Ethnic Identity Scale and Individualism-Collectivism measure, Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale and Spiritual Transcendence Scale, Satisfaction With Life and Positive Affect scales, Transgression Related Interpersonal Motivation scale, Mini-IPIP, and demographic questionnaire.

The results demonstrated significant group differences on major study variables among three ethnic groups [Wilks’ Lambda = .56, multivariate F(58,1100) = 7.01, p <.001, partial η2 =.25]. European Americans significantly differed from both Asian Indian Americans and Chinese Americans on spirituality and ethnic identity. Chinese Americans differed from both European Americans and Asian Indian Americans on collectivism and forgiveness. Moderation analyses indicated one significant interaction effect of spirituality and ethnic identity on positive affect [R2 = .12, F (3,631) = 29.21, p <.001]. Further analysis of significant interaction effect for mediated moderation analysis indicated a significant mediated moderation for collectivism on positive affect (β = .26, p<. 001). Mediational analyses of Individualism and Collectivism significantly mediated the effects of spirituality on the outcome variables, with collectivism emerging as a stronger mediator than individualism, where collectivism mediated 75%, 34%, and 48% of the total effect of spirituality on satisfaction with life, forgiveness, and positive affect, respectively. Analyses of structural mediational models indicated the mediational model for forgiveness as a better fit to the data. Finally, incremental validity analyses of spirituality over and above personality and cultural orientation indicated that spirituality represented 33%, 8%, and 7% of increase in power of predicting forgiveness, life satisfaction, and positive affect, respectively.  

The significant results represent ethnic variations in spirituality, cultural, and psychological variables, and implicate a significant advance in conducting cross-cultural research in pastoral counseling. Specifically, the significant results offer additional empirical evidence for the integration of ethnic identity and cultural orientation in assessing spiritual themes and designing interventions for multi-cultural clients.