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Religion, spirituality

National Church Life Surveys
NCLS Research is a cooperative research venture designed to resource congregations for mission. Involving millions of participants over a number of years in different countries, surveys have explored aspects of both church and community life. NCLS Research staff are supported by sponsoring agencies (the Uniting Church NSW Board of Mission, ANGLICARE through the Diocese of Sydney, and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference). Their work is also supported by a range of partnerships, other sponsors and networks of local, regional and national church representatives.

The spirit of Generation Y: Young people, spirituality and society

The Spirit of Generation Y project (2003-2006), is an Australian study of the spirituality of young people in their teens and twenties, conducted by researchers from Australian Catholic University, Monash University and the Christian Research Association.

The research consisted of a survey of a nationally representative sample of Generation Y (born 1976-1990), with comparison groups from ‘Generation X’ (born 1961-75) and the ‘Baby-Boomer’ generation (born 1946-60), supplemented by extended, face-to-face interviews. The project explored Generation Y’s range of worldviews and values, their sense of meaning and purpose in life, the ways in which they find peace and happiness, their involvement in traditional religions and alternative spiritualities, how they relate to the society around them, and the influences which shape their outlook and lifestyle. For more information, see:

2007 & beyond

This is a two-year program being undertaken by the Australia21 group. The program seeks to understand young people's views of the future and how these views are woven into the stories they create to make sense and meaning of their lives. The developmental phase and early fieldwork will be undertaken in 2006 and the fieldwork will continue into 2007, when the network will distil its findings and discuss them broadly with policy-makers and community groups.

(US) National Study of Youth and Religion
This USA survey of the influence of religion and spirituality began in 2002 when a team of sociologists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received a major grant to conduct a comprehensive survey of the influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of American teenagers. The second wave of the NSYR, a telephone survey of a nationally representative sample of youth aged 16-20, began in June 2005 and was completed in November of 2005. The NSYR report on Protestant adolescents in the United States based on the NSYR survey data, Portraits of Protestant teens: A report on teenagers in major US denominations, is at:

Being true to oneself: The role of authenticity in promoting youth mental health

by William Hallam, Craig Olsson, Glenn Bowes & John Toumbourou
Paper in Youth Studies Australia, v.25, n.1, 2006.
Young people are growing up in a society that teaches them that feeling good is the main game. It also teaches them that to feel good, you need, at least, material wealth, beauty, sex and education. This is despite research that shows that hedonistic people are less happy. The authors of this paper suggest that perhaps we need to teach children that selfindulgence and pleasure are not, in fact, virtues, or even necessary for happiness. Self worth and a sense of meaning may be more related to a commitment to generative social values than to hedonic values of self-interest. See:

'Are we approaching mental health in the right spirit?'
Auseinetter, July 2002
This is a short article in which Dr Craig Hassed of Monash University's Department of General Practice explores religion, spirituality and health.
In the editorial for the same edition of the newsletter, Prof. Graham Martin writes on the issue of spirituality and suicide prevention, and, in the context of the elements that make for resilience, considers religion and belief as important factors, for instance where ' ... in slightly reductionist psychiatric terms, prayer or meditation may lead to reduction of guilt or shame, those twin evils that can drive depression and despair'. See PDF version of the articles at:

Young people and their quest for meaning, by Ruth Webber
v.21, n.1, 2002, pp.40-43.

Spirituality in a material world, by, p. Hannam.
v.11, n.2, 1992, pp.52-53.

Religion among university students, by C. Waddell and G. Easthope
'Youth Studies and Abstracts: Bulletin of the National Clearinghouse for Youth Studies', 1987 v.6 n.2, pp.31-34.