Spirituality as a Protective Factor A Multinational Study of 267 Adults with Care Experience

Main Article Content

Nicole Gilbertson Wilke
Megan Roberts
Tony Mitchell
Amanda Hiles Howard


spirituality, care leavers, adults with care experience, alternative care, faith, religiosity, protective factors, resilience


Adults who were separated from parental care as children and resided in alternative care settings often experience difficulties throughout their lifespan.  Thus, it is important to explore factors that lead to better outcomes.  Spirituality is one protective factor that has received attention in academic literature in recent years.  However, little work has examined spirituality in this population or the specific ways it impacts wellbeing in adulthood. Using thematic analysis, the current study explored the specific ways spirituality serves as a protective factor in a multinational sample of 267 individuals with care experience.  Data revealed six spirituality-related themes: 1) relationship with God, 2) spiritual community support, 3) spirituality as a component of identity development, 4) a belief in a higher purpose, 5) spirituality-motivated servanthood, and 6) access to spirituality-based teachings and teachers. Based on these findings, we propose data-informed recommendations to improve services for children separated from parental care.

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