Adolescent religiosity and school contexts

  • Barrett J
  • Pearson J
  • Muller C
 et al. 
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Abstract

Objectives. Schools serve as the primary social organizations for adolescents, structuring their lives and conveying a variety of skills, norms, and values, but relatively little is known about how schools influence the development of religious belief, attitudes, and behavior during adolescence. We explore how schools' religious norms, coupled with adolescents' pursuit of social status through conformity, affect public and private religiosity. Methods. Employing data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we use multilevel modeling to examine the impact of school context on adolescents' public and private religiosity. Results. We find that school norms are influential in shaping both public religious expressions and private devotional activities, but pursuit of social status is a motivation for change across religious contexts only of public religious activity. The effect of social status as a motivator of religious change was moderated by the strength of the adolescent's identification with the school, especially for private religiosity. Conclusions. Schools play a key role in the social development of adolescents, and students' religious beliefs and behaviors are influenced systematically and observably by the type of religious climate within the school. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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Authors

  • Jennifer B. Barrett

  • Jennifer Pearson

  • Chandra Muller

  • Kenneth A. Frank

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