Religiosity and Mental Health Among Young-Adults in Generation X from Emerging to Established Adulthood

Woosang Hwang, Kent Jason Cheng, Jeung Hyun Kim, Maria T. Brown, Sara A. Vasilenko, Merril Silverstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This investigation examined how religiosity in the period of life ranging from emerging to established adulthood is associated with mental health. To address this issue, we examined the relationship between multiple dimensions of religiosity among young-adult Gen-Xers and mental health (psychological well-being, depression, and self-esteem) over this important stage of adulthood. We selected 510 young-adults participating in the Longitudinal Study of Generations surveyed in 2000 (18–29 years), 2005 (23–34 years), and 2016 (34–45 years). Latent class analysis identified three latent religious classes across the three waves: nonreligious, strongly religious, and spiritual-but-not-religious. Young-adult Gen-Xers in the strongly religious class across the three measurements generally reported better mental health when they reached established adulthood than those in the nonreligious class. Mental health in established adulthood was not significantly different between strongly religious and spiritual-but-not-religious individuals. Findings suggest that religiosity may serve as an important resource for mental health in the transition to established adulthood. Implications are discussed in the context of declining religiosity in the US over recent decades.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adult Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2023


  • Emerging adulthood
  • Established adulthood
  • Generation X
  • Mental health
  • Religiosity
  • Spiritual-but-not-religious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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