Human DevelopmentJournal

The Relationship of Spiritual Intelligence with the Personality Traits among Youths

Neha Joshi – Research Scholar (Department of Human Development and Family Studies Punjab Agricultural University Ludhiana)

I. Introduction

Youth is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence. The United Nations for statistical purposes defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 to 24 years. The age range for youth may vary in different countries because of differences in the environment and the needs of youth. As per the National Youth Policy 2014, youths are defines as a person aged 15 to 29 years. This age group constitutes 27.5% of India’s population. The youth population in any country is dynamic and vital for its long-run development. Youth being enthusiastic, vibrant, innovative, and dynamic makes them an important section of the population. They show strong passion, motivation, and will power make them the most valuable human resource that has a direct impact on the economic, cultural, and political development of a nation. 

Youth is often characterized as a period of internal turmoil and external recklessness (Morfit 1993). They have to contend with many developmental problems associated with their unique transitional stages in which they experienced rapid metamorphosis physically, emotionally, cognitively, and socially (Schacter et al 2009). It is very important to maintain the mental health of youths while experiencing challenging events. 

Psychologists have identified many areas of intelligence along with cognitive intelligence such as fluid and crystallized intelligence, socio-emotional intelligence, and spiritual intelligence. All these intelligence are indica6tor of adjustment (Animasahun 2010). While we have number of researches done on the relationship between different types of intelligence with the personality of adolescents but there is a limited investigation on the spiritual intelligence of youth. Hence this study focuses on how spiritual intelligence can impact the personality traits of youth.

Spiritual Intelligence (SI):

Spiritual Intelligence is absolutely a new phenomenon in the world of psychology. It consists of two words- spiritual and intelligence. The word spiritual derived from Latin word spiritus meaning “that gives life or vitality to a system.” Whereas the word intelligence is defined as the aggregated capacity of the individual to act purposefully, think rationally, and deal effectively with environment” (Weschler 1940). Zohar (1997) coined the term Spiritual Intelligence. Spiritual Intelligence is defined as the ability to apply and embody spiritual resources and qualities to enhance daily functioning and well-being (Amram 2007). Researchers regarded SI as the most significant type of intelligence due to its ability to influence people, societies, and cultures that brings changes. It results in improvement among individuals in terms of the adoption of a positive outlook and in achieving inner peace (Buzan 2001). Several models of spiritual intelligence suggested that youth have limited capacity and exposures to spiritual experiences which results in inadequate spiritual intelligence (Mohanty & Mahapatra 2018). Various researchers reported that SI is highly related to positive outcomes as physical, emotional, and psychological well-being with positive interpersonal functional and enhanced quality of life. King (2010) proposed four essential abilities for spiritual intelligence: 

  • Critical existential thinking– the ability to anticipate in existential and metaphysical issues and non-existential issues related to one’s existence.
  • Personal meaning production– deriving meaning and purpose from life experiences and creating and mastering life purposes.
  • Transcendent awareness– the ability to identify the transpersonal and the transpersonal self in the material and nonmaterial world concerning self and others.
  • Conscious state expansion– the ability and capacity to enter higher states of conscientiousness at one’s discretion.

Personality traits:

Personality is defined as psychological traits that describe the relatively stable set of characteristics, tendencies, and temperaments formed by heredity or by socio-cultural and environmental factors (Mpaata 2017). The Big Five Personality Traits are empirically supported five dimensions used to describe personality which are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Goldberg (1993) coined by “Big Five” which describes the nature of people by themselves and has an association with predictable behavior patterns and social outcomes. Personality traits of individuals form their main psychological structure that helps in shaping lifestyle (Esfahani & Etemadi 2012). It a point to be noted that there are individual differences in the personality traits form one person to another. Goldberg (1993) defined each trait of personality as:

a) Openness: It is defined as the degree to which a person is curious, original, intellectual, creative, and open to new ideas.

b) Consciousness: It is defined as an organized, systematic, punctual, achievement-oriented, and dependable nature of the individual.

c) Extraversion: It is defined as an outgoing, talkative, and sociable nature of an individual who enjoys being in social situations.

d) Agreeableness: It is defined as an individual’s character of affable, tolerant, sensitive, trusting, kind, and warm nature.

e) Neuroticism: It is defined as the anxious, irritable, temperament, and mood nature of an individual.

Spiritual Intelligence and Personality Traits of Youth:

Many psychologists have studied the relationship between personality traits and mental abstract functions or intelligence. But analysis of this relation is not sufficient to get a successful impact of intelligence on personality traits and quality of life of youth. After that series of other researches have been done to assess the interrelation of ideas, actions, and moral obligation of youth with the latter kind of personality traits. Edwards (2003) indicated a significant positive correlation of spiritual beliefs with positive psychological characters. Although there are only a few studies that show the relationship between spiritual intelligence and personality traits.  Researchers suggested that some personality traits such as neurosis, conscientiousness, and agreeableness are effective on moral orientation and spiritual capabilities (Beshlideh et al 2011). It is believed that spiritual intelligence enhances the involvement of oneself every day and routine life and integration with others that results in an experience beyond oneself (Ahmadi et al 2012). Awareness of individual and personality differences by youth may contribute to resolving many life difficulties. Spiritual Intelligence is understood as multiple methods of knowing the integration of inner life with exterior life in the world (Andros 2007). So the current study explored the evidence related to spiritual intelligence and aim to determine whether the personality traits can be influenced by the spiritual intelligence of rural youths with their magnitude and direction of the relationship.

II. Rationale of the study

Most of the studies conducted related youth intelligence across the country concentrate majorly on cognitive, emotional, or social intelligence. Less focus has been given to measuring the spiritual intelligence of youth and its correlation with personality traits. While scanning the earlier research literature, mostly western data is available only showing the correlation of spiritual intelligence and personality traits of youth. This research study helped in generating a pilot database of the interplay of spiritual intelligence with the personality traits of Indian youth. The study also determined that whether significant gender differences exist in the spiritual intelligence of rural youth.

III. Objective of the Study

The study was designed to examine 

  • To analyze the relationship between the spiritual intelligence of youth with their personality traits.
  • To find out the gender difference in the spiritual intelligence of rural youth.

IV. Methodology

A) Sample Selection: The present study was conducted in LSM Government PG College Pithoragarh. The total sample of the present study was comprised of 60 youth aged between 21 to 25 years randomly selected which was equally distributed across two genders i.e. males and females. 

B) Tool Used

i) The Roqan Spiritual Intelligence scale developed by Zainuddin and Ahmed (2010) was used to assess the Spiritual Intelligence of youth. There are 78 items on this scale which consist of six dimensions of spiritual intelligence i.e. The inner self, The inter self, Biostoria, Life perspectives, Spiritual Actualization, and Value Orientation. The reliability of the scale was found to be 0.73 and validity was 0.85. 

ii) The Big Five Inventory developed by John and Srivastava (1999), a self- report inventory was used to measure the personality traits of respondents. It is comprised of 44-items used to measure personality in five dimensions which are Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. 

C) Statistical Analysis:

The collected data were classified and tabulated as per the objectives to arrive at meaningful and logical inferences by using Karl Pearson’s correlation coefficient and t-test.    

V. Results and Discussion

Table 1: The correlation between Personality traits and Spiritual Intelligence of the Rural Youth

Personality TraitsSpiritual Intelligence
*0.05 level of significance

Table 1 represents the correlation matrix of spiritual intelligence and personality traits. It was found that there was a positive and significant (p<0.05) relationship of spiritual intelligence with certain personality traits i.e. openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, and agreeableness. On the other hand, results also revealed a negative and significant (p<0.05) correlation between spiritual intelligence and neuroticism. Thus the relationship analysis indicated that the more the Spiritual Intelligence of adolescents, the healthier the personality traits. This result lends credence to previous findings that show a positive and significant correlation between spiritual intelligence with openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and extraversion. Also, the negative and meaningful correlation obtained between spiritual intelligence and neuroticism (Farsani et al 2013). Sharabiani et al (2019) also found significant positive correlations between spiritual intelligence and four factors of extroversion, openness to experience, pleasure, and conscientiousness whereas neuroticism had a significantly negative correlation with spiritual intelligence.

Table 2: Gender differentials in mean scores of the Spiritual Intelligence of Rural Youth


Table 2 elucidates the gender differences in mean scores of the Spiritual Intelligence of Rural Youth. The results revealed that the mean of spiritual intelligence of boys is 294.90 whereas for girls the mean was 310.3. This indicated that the means score of girls in spiritual intelligence was found to be higher than boys. However, there is no significant gender difference in the spiritual intelligence of rural youth. Similar results were found in the study by Pant and Srivastava (2019) who also determined that no significant differences are found between male and female students in terms of spiritual intelligence. Meenakshi and Shaina (2018) also revealed that no significant difference exists in spiritual intelligence between male and female postgraduate students.

VI. Conclusion

The main purpose of this study was to assess the relationship of spiritual intelligence and personality traits of youth. The research indicated that spiritual intelligence is a distinct ability which is more than cognitive ability and plays an important role in defining the personality of the youth. A significant positive correlation was found between the Spiritual Intelligence and personality traits of rural youths which lead to the prediction that increment in SI results in personality development also. Personality development plays an important role to manage the surrounding things or situations.

This study has significant implications for parents, teachers, and counselors for revealing how the development of Spiritual Intelligence results in the personality development of youth. The youth with a high level of spiritual intelligence and positive personality traits generally have success in academics, works, and social life and acts as an important factor in the development of identity and morality among youth along with discouragement of moral conflict. This study is also significant from an educational perspective where spiritual intelligence can be introduced through the curriculum in which teacher direct learner about the way of behaving with others and decision-making skills to deal with everyday problems Nevertheless, future research is recommended on the large and demographically diverse sample with a comparative study of youth with another age group also.

Hence, the research paper concluded with certain suggestions which might help enhance Spiritual Intelligence and Personality of the youth of our country:

  • Incorporation of spiritual intelligence among academics of school and university students to have a significant impact on youth’s academic, social, and personal adaptation.
  • Use of various methods such as training, coaching, and therapy to develop spiritual intelligence competencies among youth.
  • Increment in conscious involvement of youth in everyday life to develop a positive and constructive attitude towards life which helps in significant discouragement in neurotics traits of personality.
  • Involvement of youth in activities like meditation, observation of spiritual values/ qualities ad use of tools that empower Spiritual Quotient results into the enhancement of Spiritual Intelligence.
  • Periodic organization of out-of-school time personality development program for youths by NGOs and government agencies such as after-school clubs, sports activities, and social service involvement. 
  • Invite alumni of school or university to share their life experience related to spiritual intelligence and personality traits and its impact on the next stages of life.


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