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The study addressed how students engage with the 5 spiritual qualities. These are: Equanimity, Spiritual Quest, Ethic of Caring, Charitable Involvement, and Ecumenical Worldview.
Astin found: "Students show the greatest degree of growth in the five spiritual qualities if they are actively engaged in “inner work” through self-reflection, contemplation, or meditation.
"Students also show substantial increases in Spiritual Quest when their faculty encourage them to explore questions of meaning and purpose or otherwise show support for their spiritual development"
Growth in Equanimity enhances students’ grade point average, Leadership skills, Psychological Well-being, self-rated ability to get along with other races and cultures, and Satisfaction with college.
"Most forms of Charitable Involvement during college—community service work, helping friends with personal problems, donating money to charity—promote the development of other spiritual qualities"
Though there is no universal definition for spirituality, Spiritual Life @ OSU interprets both it and religion through what is defined in Astin's work.
"a multifaceted quality [that] involves an active quest for answers to life’s “big questions”, a global worldview that transcends ethnocentrism and egocentrism, a sense of caring and compassion for others coupled with a lifestyle that includes service to others, and a capacity to maintain one’s sense of calm and centeredness, especially in times of stress" (Astin, 2004, para. 4).
Religiousness is "adherence to a set of faith-based beliefs (and related practices) concerning both the origin of the world and the nature of the entity or being that is believed to have created and govern the world. Religiousness typically involves membership in some kind of community of fellow believers and practitioners, as well as participation in ceremonies or rituals." (Astin, 2011).