Psychology ETDs

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The current research study investigated factors associated with spiritual development among church-attending adolescents. Eighty five participants (12 — 19 years) attending church youth groups in the Albuquerque area were asked to complete a questionnaire measuring spiritual transformation, identity, and maturity as well as demographics, personality, religious social support, and personal devotional activities. The purpose of this research was to understand how religious social support (family, friends, church, mentorship) and personal devotional activities (prayer, worship, study of sacred texts) were related to a spiritual transformation experience, spiritual identity, and spiritual maturity. It was hypothesized that adolescents who reported having had a positive spiritual transformation and who demonstrated higher levels of spiritual identity and maturity would be more connected to religious support systems and would engage more in personal devotional activities. These hypotheses were supported, as were several others. In particular, those who reported stronger levels of spiritual identity were more actively engaged in prayer, worship, and Bible study and had more religious support from friends, parents, church, and mentorship. Youth who had higher levels of spiritual identity also reported a desire both to be mentored by, and to mentor others. Active engagement in a greater religious community was related to having had a spiritual transformation experience. Age, relationship status, personality, personal identity, and religious coping were also associated with levels of spiritual identity and maturity. These findings may enable mental health professionals, religious leaders, and parents to better understand how to support adolescents with religious and spiritual interests in their journey of spiritual development.

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First Advisor

Delaney, Harold

First Committee Member (Chair)

Venner, Kamilla

Second Committee Member

Smith, Bruce




Spiritual formation--Psychological aspects, Christian education of teenagers--Psychological aspects, Religiousness--Psychological aspects, Person schemas.

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