Toronto Metropolitan University
ReligSpiritID_Paper_12_10_20.docx (114.25 kB)

Religious and Spiritual Development from Adolescence to Early Adulthood in the U.S.: Changes over Time and Sexual Orientation Differences

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posted on 2022-11-24, 20:25 authored by Kalina M. Lamb, Robert S. Stawski, Sarah DermodySarah Dermody

Adolescence is a critical time in the U.S. for religious development in that many young people eschew their religious identity as they enter adulthood. In general, religion is associated with a number of positive health outcomes including decreased substance use and depression. The current study compared the developmental patterns of religiosity and spirituality in heterosexual and sexual minority youth. The design was a secondary data analysis of the first five waves of the Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and Wellness (N = 337, 71.8% female). Using multilevel linear (for spirituality) and quadratic (for religiosity) growth models, the initial level and change over time in religiosity and spirituality, as well as the correlations between growth processes, were compared between heterosexual and sexual minority individuals. The heterosexual group had significantly higher initial religiosity levels than the sexual minority group. Religiosity decreased over time at a similar rate for the heterosexual and sexual minority groups. Spirituality significantly increased over time for the sexual minority group but not for the heterosexual youth. The change over time in religiosity and spirituality were significantly and positively correlated for heterosexual individuals but were uncorrelated for sexual minority individuals. Results indicate there are differences in religious development based on sexual minority status. Future research should take into account how these differential religious and spiritual developmental patterns seen in heterosexual and sexual minority youth might predict various health outcomes.




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