Literature has shown a correlation between spirituality and well-being, but this has not been thoroughly studied outside North America, with very few studies conducted in Africa. This study compared data from two sub-Saharan African nations, Uganda and South Africa, that differ markedly in terms of multiple factors that affect well-being, such as mortality rates and access to healthcare, as well as educational and personal growth opportunities. Survey data were collected using the measures of The Spiritual Involvement and Beliefs Scale and Ryff's Personal Well-Being Scale. There were four racial groups represented in the data: Black South Africans, Coloureds, White South Africans, and Black Ugandans. The results showed both similarities and differences among the racial groups in regard to spirituality and well-being. White South Africans had the lowest levels of spirituality, but the groups were fairly equivalent in terms of overall well-being, which finding was surprising, given the fact that the South Africans have much better material conditions and survival rates than Ugandans. Group differences were also observed in terms of the positive and negative aspects of well-being, which were highly correlated in the data from White South Africans but weakly correlated for the other groups. The correlations between the measures of spirituality and well-being were positive for all groups, with that association explaining a remarkable 32% of the variance in the Black Ugandan sample but only 4% of the variance in the White South African sample. These data confirm the salience of spirituality to well-being, particularly among the samples indigenous to sub-Saharan Africa.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





spirituality, well-being, Africa, South Africa, Uganda, cross-cultural