Date of Award


Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Arts, Nursing & Theology

First Advisor

Kayle de Waal

Second Advisor

Peter Beamish


111707 Family Care, 111714 Mental Health, 160301 Family and Household Studies, 160899 Sociology not elsewhere classified, 220405 Religion and Society, 229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified


People in the world are suffering from poor levels of wellbeing ("Beyond Blue," 2016; "Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders: Global Health Estimates," 2017). A contributing factor is the decrease in social and spiritual connectedness currently experienced by many people. As intergenerational relationships are also in decline, this study explored how intergenerational Christian congregations could provide a potential avenue for connectedness. A mixed-method research approach was adopted to answer the question, how is a person’s wellbeing impacted by their level of social and spiritual connectedness as they are discipled in an intergenerational congregation?

The sample for the quantitative data set comprised of 545 participants from five generations from 11 New South Wales Christian congregations. Ten of the congregations were of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and one was of the Church of Christ denomination.

A questionnaire comprising of 117 items was used to gather the quantitative data. The scales used included an Intergenerationality Index that was created for the study, and a Discipleship assessment tool. Semi-structured interviews with 14 participants from four of the congregations were also undertaken, which lead to the compilation of 496 minutes of discussion.

The study found that intergenerationality positively influenced both wellbeing and discipleship and further discipleship also positively impacted wellbeing. The findings of the study add weight to the argument that intergenerational Christian congregations can act as a positive contributor to a person’s wellbeing, as well as an ideal context for social and spiritual connectedness through discipleship.


Used by permission: the author.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access a print copy of this thesis from Avondale College Library ().