Personality and Spirituality: How They Relate?

Personality psychology is one of the great areas of study of this discipline. Therefore, we have always tried to observe how it is formed, how it affects our behavior and how it conditions our way of seeing the world . Thus, the relationship between personality and spirituality is being studied more and more.

Although the study of spirituality and religiosity is not new, in the last 20 years it has begun to speak of a new branch called Psychology of Religiosity and Spirituality.

Among its objectives would be to clarify the relationship between personality traits and spiritual beliefs. How they evolve throughout the life cycle and the adaptive importance it has for certain personalities. However, the main drawback that exists is to reach a consensus on what spirituality and religiosity is .

One of the most commonly used definitions refers to the spiritual is an innate motivation that guides and guides behavior towards building a broader personal meaning . That is, the belief that there is an order in the universe that transcends our thinking. In this sense, some authors propose that it could even form a personality factor by itself.

On the other hand, religiosity is the set of beliefs, values ​​and practices explicitly governed by a social or institutional tradition, and that depends on education and culture . Thus, religiosity is influenced by, and modulates, the spirituality of the person.


Although there are different models that classify personality in a different way, the studies are generally based on the Model of the 5 factors . According to this, personality can be defined according to the degree it presents in each of the following dimensions:

  • Neuroticism : related to emotional instability and tendency to experience negative emotions.
  • Extraversion : tendency to be communicative and interact with others.
  • Mental openness or experience: tendency to show intellectual curiosity, imagination and aesthetic sensibility.
  • Kindness : related to the establishment of social ties, altruistic attitude and interest in others.
  • Responsibility : tendency to have clear purposes and goals, ability to control impulses and carry out tasks in an organized way.

Spirituality and personality

As indicated above, spirituality consists of an innate motivation and a belief that there is a universal order, and that determines our behavior.

In some research, spirituality has been related to the 5 personality factors, such as extraversion, openness and kindness.

However, there are authors who argue that spirituality by itself includes nuances that do not include others (simplicity, detachment or loneliness). Therefore, they consider that spirituality should constitute a sixth factor of personality .

Depending on the degree of spirituality that is presented, the person would show certain behavioral tendencies and ways of perceiving the world around him.

Religiosity and personality

Religiosity contextualizes the degree of spirituality of a person. Since spirituality is considered more a personality factor, most studies have associated different personality traits with religiosity .

In this sense, although approximately 60% find no relationship, there are indications that greater religious spirituality is related to a lower presence of neuroticism.

On the other hand, 40% of studies indicate that more religious people show more responsibility features . That is, a greater presence of objectives and ability to achieve them in a planned and organized way.

87% of researches have seen that people with a higher degree of religiosity are friendlier. In terms of openness or the ability to have a greater imagination or curiosity, 42% of studies find a positive relationship.

However, some authors believe that, if the effect of spirituality were eliminated, that is, that all show the same degree, greater religiosity would be associated with less openness.

Relationship between them

One study has analyzed the relationship between spirituality, religiosity, and personality. In it they have found that all personality factors, except openness, are related to the degree of spirituality. This result was remarkable in pleasantness and responsibility. Instead, religiosity was only associated with these last two factors.

More specifically, they saw that when the approach to religion occurs in search of answers to existential questions, but the feeling of faith and spiritual meaning were low, religion was related to high neuroticism and openness . On the other hand, it was associated with low extraversion, pleasantness and awareness.

Another finding was that, when people approach a religion in a more instrumental way , because it gives them security or a source of sociabilization, but the intellectual search and faith were low, it was associated with low neuroticism, pleasantness and openness .