ABSTRACT

A surge of interest in religion over the past 20 years has resulted in a number of recent reviews of the relationship between religious involvement and aging. A survey of these publications reveals how little is known, however, about the development of religiousness and spirituality in adulthood. In her review chapter for the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, Idler (2006) devotes only two pages to age-related changes in religion and summarizes the existing body of research with the highly general and equivocal statement that “religion remains stable or increases until late life” (p. 283). Spilka, Hood, Hunsberger, and Gorsuch (2003) begin their brief entry on religion and elderly individuals by stating that although “it is widely assumed … that people in late adulthood are more religious than their younger peers … the data are often equivocal” (p. 165). A similar conclusion is reached by Levenson, Aldwin, and D’Mello (2005) in their review of fi ndings on religious development from adolescence to middle adulthood.