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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Michele L. McGrady
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Understanding the Dimensions of Spirituality in Caucasian, Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Students
Dr. Mary Z. Anderson, Chair
Dr. Patrick Munley
Dr. Karen Horneffer-Ginter
Date: Friday, May 20, 2011 10:00 a.m. to Noon
2211 Sangren Hall
Spiritual development is a critical task for college students, but there is a paucity of research on how they understand the construct of spirituality. Historically organized religion has been oppressive to the lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) community. Furthermore, little is known about the spiritual understandings and spiritual experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual college students. This investigation sought to understand the underlying dimensions of spirituality for Caucasian, LGB college students through the use of multidimensional scaling. Sixty Caucasian, LGB college students were recruited through purposeful and snowball sampling. Connection to goodness in the world, the process of seeking, and the discovery process are the three dimensions underlying students’ conceptualization of spirituality. The findings also indicate spiritual identity impacts how students use and understand these dimensions. Given that this investigation is the first to explore the underlying dimensions of spirituality for LGB college students, implications for future research, practice, and college student development models are vast. Results suggest that Caucasian, LGB college students are a vibrant student group from which we learned the importance of connection to self and others as well as how awareness is connected to their rich spiritual lives. Recognizing students’ experiences as potentially positive can aid in assisting lesbian, gay and bisexual students in developing a source of spiritual strength within or outside of traditional religious affiliation.