Presenter: Ryan Anstead, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
Authors: Ryan Anstead
Faculty Advisor: Chris Anderson, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Psychology
Institution: Utah Valley University
An adolescent’s self-esteem is an important predictor of negative and positive outcomes in their life. Current research shows that a high self-esteem is correlated with positive factors such as a high life satisfaction whereas a low self-esteem correlates with negative factors such as anxiety, shyness and vulnerable reactions. There are many factors which seem related to a higher self-esteem including extracurricular activity participation and religious involvement. Having a stronger relationship with God also is a predictor for lower rates of depression and anxiety symptoms in youth. There are various aspects of organized religion that positively relate to self-esteem improvement and other positive outcomes. The current project sought to examine the combination of these factors combined into a single study. 108 adolescent participants took an online, IRB approved, survey that contained aspects of spirituality, self-esteem and depressive symptoms. This online survey was made available to a myriad of age groups. Data analysis of adolescent participants showed statistically significant associations with small-moderate effect sizes between spirituality, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms. One strength of our research is the sample size was large enough to detect statistical significance (n=108). We also had the benefit of using several questions regarding any one topic (i.e. different questions regarding similar aspects of depression) which allowed for more construct validity. One weakness regarding the results of the study was the convenience sample which can produce a biased sample (i.e the sample was over 90% Caucasian). Further research into different age groups and ethnic backgrounds could prove helpful. Research exploring family relations within spirituality may also be beneficial for understanding family dynamics and culture. Adolescent self-esteem and spirituality appear to be a relevant topic for addressing depression.