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J Homosex. 2005;49(2):135-44.

The importance of spirituality among gay and lesbian individuals.

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California State University, 1250 Bellflower Blvd, Long Beach, CA, 90840-0902, USA.


Religion is a conduit for expressing spirituality. Since most mainstream religions condemn any form of homosexuality one would expect that gay men and lesbians would have little to do with spirituality. Experts, however, believe that gay and lesbian individuals would especially benefit from spiritual nourishment because of the oppression they face. Using an instrument that measures spiritual well-being, this study investigated the spirituality of 93 gay and lesbian individuals. The findings revealed that respondents espoused high levels of spiritual well-being: how one relates to God (religious well-being) and how one feels about life (existential well-being). Those who identified with a formal religion and who attended religious services frequently espoused higher religious well-being. Respondents with a diagnosis of depression, on the other hand, espoused lower existential well-being. Multiple regression analyses revealed that existential well-being was a significant predictor of adjustment: having high self-esteem, accepting one's homosexual orientation, and feeling less alienated. In contrast, religious well-being was not a significant predictor of any measure of adjustment. These findings point to the importance of the existential aspect of spirituality among gay and lesbian individuals in determining adjustment. They also suggest that being well-adjusted does not entail being reconciled with a traditional religion or with a theistic belief.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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