Are Spiritual People Less Stressed at Work?

A strong sense of spirituality has been shown to provide many positive outcomes. People who are very spiritual may have a more positive outlook on life, less anxiety and depression, and may experience less stress in trying situations. An abundance of existing research explores how spirituality can benefit intimate relationships, physical health, and quality of life, but few studies have examined what role spirituality plays in career satisfaction. Specifically, what is the relationship between spirituality, job satisfaction, and workplace stress? To answer this question, Steve M. Jex of Bowling Green State University’s Psychology Department led a study that explored how spirituality moderated negative workplace conditions.

For the study, Jex surveyed 854 adult participants and asked them to describe their levels of mental health, physical health, and workplace stress. The participants also were asked about their level of job satisfaction and if they had any intention to quit their jobs in the upcoming year. Finally, Jex measured levels of verbal and physical aggress and spirituality, as reported by the participants. He found that the most spiritual participants had the highest levels of mental and physical health. Additionally, those same participants reported being more satisfied with their jobs than those who were less spiritual. Although the spiritual individuals reported less workplace stress, they did react more negatively to aggression, be it physical or verbal. “Thus, spirituality may be beneficial when the work environment matches a spiritual person’s belief systems and expectations, but detrimental when these expectations are not met (e.g., high levels of aggression),” Jex said.

One way to interpret these findings is to suggest that when workplace atmospheres are in line with a spiritual person’s moral belief system, the person may experience less stress. But when transgressions occur that contrast the person’s spiritual and moral beliefs, he or she may react more negatively than less spiritual people. This study had limitations, including a single item measure for each category and low physical aggression thresholds. Future work should expand assessment items and broaden the categories to gain a more comprehensive analysis. Until then, the findings of this study demonstrate that spirituality can result in less stress at work, depending on the work environment.

Jex, Steve M., Michael T. Sliter, and Justin M. Sprung. Spirituality as a moderator of the relationship between workplace aggression and employee outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences 53.7 (2012): 930+. Health Reference Center Academic. Web. 28 Sep. 2012.

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  • Barbara

    October 17th, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    I don’t know, I find myself to be a fairly spiritual person, but I swear there are still some days that I run into people at work who make me lose my religion!

  • Bev

    October 17th, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Spiritual is not the same as ‘religious’….

  • LR

    October 17th, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Spirituality can have a host of benefits I can tell you that..It just provides that little layer of protection against a lot of things..maybe not a full blown armor but it is a shield nevertheless..personal experience!

  • Jackson

    October 17th, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Is it that they are less stressed, or maybe is that with their faith they feel that they have something positive that they can always depend on and lean on.
    Maybe that is why they always seem to be a little more laid back and more at ease.
    It is comforting to have that faith and spirituality, so you kind of learn that you don’t always have to sweat the small stuff. It allows to you be more at peace with the world around you and the curveballs that life always seems to throw.

  • hazel

    October 17th, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    remind me to only work with people who go to church ;)

  • keaton

    October 17th, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    for me,rather than just religion,spirituality (including meditating) helps much better to cope with nay kind of stress,workplace included.knowing you can find peace within is just an invaluable resource when it comes to dealing with so much that we go through each day.I hope more people derive its benefits.

  • hazel

    October 18th, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    okay, so remind me to check out their morals before agreeing to work there

  • runninfast

    October 19th, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    This is multi faceted. One of the things that I have discovered as I have become more focused in realizing and growing my own spirituality is that not only do I have more faith in my abilities, but I now seem to have more people as friends who also believe in my strengths too. These are new people that I have drawn into my life as a result of my studies and I just can’t say enough about how them being in my life has allowed me to become so much more and so much more confident than I have ever been before. It has given me something that I have not had before, and that is the ability to not sweat the small stuff and to sometimes let go of the things that are holding me down and really holding me back from realizing my true potential. That has been such a blessing at work and at home.

  • Lawrence Garfield

    October 23rd, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Spiritual people are less stressed; that does
    not mean that religious people are. Many times they are not the same people.

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