Twin Research

Articles

Self-transcendence as a measure of spirituality in a sample of older Australian twins

Katherine M Kirka1 c1, Lindon J Eavesa2 and Nicholas G Martina3

a1 Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Joint Genetics Program, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. kathE@qimr.edu.au

a2 Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavior Genetics, Richmond, USA.

a3 Queensland Institute of Medical Research and Joint Genetics Program, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Abstract

Measures of self-transcendence, physical health and psychological well-being were included in a self-report Health and Lifestyle questionnaire administered to Australian twins aged over 50 between 1993 and 1995. Self-transcendence appears to be higher among older Australian women than men, and was significantly associated with religious affiliation, marital status (in women) and age (in men). No strong correlations were observed between self-transcendence and any measure of psychological or physical health. Additive genetic effects were found to be important in influencing self-transcendence, with heritability estimates of 0.37 and 0.41 for men and women respectively, whilst shared environment effects were not found to be significant. Multivariate modelling of self-transcendence scores and self-reported church attendance behavior indicated substantially different etiologies for these variables, with implications for methods of investigation of religiosity and spirituality.

(Received March 10 1999)

(Accepted March 17 1999)

Keywords

  • self-transcendence;
  • church attendance;
  • spirituality;
  • twins;
  • temperament;
  • character inventory

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence: Dr KM Kirk, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Post Office, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane QLD 4029, Queensland, Australia. Tel: + 61 7 3362 0272; Fax: + 61 7 3362 0101;

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