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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Poll: Collegians value spirituality

More than half of college students place a high value on "integrating spirituality" in their lives, with 77 percent saying "we are all spiritual beings" and 71 percent saying they "gain strength by trusting in a higher power," according to initial findings from a study by the University of California, Los Angeles. And 76 percent are "searching for meaning and purpose in life," although 62 percent say their professors never provide opportunities to discuss life's meaning.

The multiyear project first surveyed 3,680 students from 46 colleges and universities last spring.

The survey revealed changes between the student's freshman (year 2000) and junior years (2003). Fifty-two percent reported attending services frequently the year before they entered college, but 29 percent attend frequently by their junior year. But the study showed a rise in the number of students who say it's "very important" to integrate spirituality into their lives (51 percent in 2000 to 58 percent in 2003).

Although data specific to Lutheran students hasn't yet been culled, results showed they are more likely to retain denominational affiliation from their freshman to their junior year, said Jennifer A. Lindholm, project director.

Other findings:

• 66 percent are thankful to God "for all that has happened to me."

• 51 percent believe "in the sacredness of life."

• 77 percent pray.

• 73 percent say their spiritual beliefs "helped me develop my identity."

• 78 percent discuss religion/spirituality with friends.

For more information, see http://spirituality.ucla.edu.


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