Does Religiosity Promote Psychological Well-being in the Transition to Established Adulthood?

Woosang Hwang, Xiaoyan Zhang, Maria T. Brown, Sara A. Vasilenko, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined how religiosity changes from emerging to established adulthood, and which religious transition patterns are associated with psychological well-being in the maturation to established adulthood. In addition, we tested the moderating effects of young adults’ demographic factors (age, gender, race, and income) in the above associations. We applied latent class and latent transition analyses to 301 young adults in Waves 7 (2000; mean age = 23 years; age range = 18–29 years) and 9 (2016; mean age = 39 years; age range = 34–45 years) of the Longitudinal Study of Generations. We identified three religiosity classes among young adults in Waves 7 and 9: strongly religious, liberally religious, and weakly religious. We found that young adults who remained strongly religious between waves reported better psychological well-being at Wave 9 than those who remained liberally religious, remained weakly religious, and changed from strongly to weakly religious. In addition, we found that low-income young adults who remained weakly or liberally religious from emerging to established adulthood reported lower psychological well-being in established adulthood compared to high-income young adults with the same transition pattern. Our findings suggested that being consistently religious during the transition to established adulthood would be beneficial for young adults’ psychological well-being possibly due to cognitive consistency or social integration that surrounds continuous religious belief, practice, and community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2829-2846
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Research in Quality of Life
Issue number5
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Emerging adulthood
  • Established adulthood
  • Latent class analysis
  • Psychological well-being
  • Religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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