Document Type



Throughout most facets of American life, there has been a renewed interest in and expression of spirituality. Religiosity and spirituality have been at the center of recent international events (e.g., September 11th) and political discussions (e.g., continuing debates about school prayer and the role of religion in the political process). As a consequence, campus communities are striving to make sense of spirituality and religious tolerance as well as their roles in helping American students understand themselves as part of a diverse democracy. This phenomenological study addresses these issues by asking eight students representing eight different worldviews (i.e., Agnosticism, Atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Muslim, Protestantism, and Roman Catholicism) about what spirituality means to them. Photo elicitation and semistructured interviewing are used as the primary means for collecting data. Results show that common to all eight perspectives is the idea that spirituality is the human attempt to make meaning of the self in connection to and with the external world. Implications for student development practice and future research are discussed.



Publication Date


Original Citation

Mayhew, Matthew J.; Exploring the Essence of Spirituality; NASPA Journal; Spring, 2004

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Author retains all rights.



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