Date of Award


Degree Type



Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Welfel, Elizabeth

Subject Headings

Adult learning, Constructivism (Education), Developmental psychology, spiritual development, cognitive development, developmental psychology, counseling psychology, wisdom


This study explored whether (1) adult cognitive development correlates with spiritual development, (2) wisdom development mediates the relationship, and (3) age, gender, education level, socioeconomic status, or religious denomination are associated with level of cognitive, wisdom, or spiritual development. University students and alumni (N = 134) completed a demographic questionnaire, the Model of Hierarchical Complexity Helper-Person Problem (Commons & Pekkar, 2004), the Spiritual Assessment Inventory (Hall & Edwards, 1996, 2002), and the Self-Assessed Wisdom Scale (Webster, 2003). This study hypothesized that wisdom, understood to derive from both personality qualities and life experience, mediates the influence of cognitive development on spiritual. This research hoped to provide empirical support for understanding the direction and degree of influence of cognitive, wisdom, and spiritual development. Using structural equation modeling, spiritual development was measured only as awareness of God. Cognitive development correlated significantly with spiritual awareness with moderate effect size. An inverse relationship was found between wisdom development and spiritual awareness. Wisdom development did not mediate the impact of cognitive development on spiritual awareness. Gender, age, education level, socioeconomic status, and religious affiliation were not associated with cognitive, wisdom, or spiritual development

Included in

Education Commons