Monday, August 27, 2007

When do teenagers become more religious?

Here are some interesting data from an article by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker (2006--Review of Religious Research 47(3): 217-237).

Using data from over 11,000 adolescents (Add Health Study), they charted at what age the kids made significant religious transitions. Either they say that either religion is now very important where as the previous year it wasn't or they say they are now attending church much more often than they had been.

Two observations: As the authors note, there is a U-shaped distribution, such that age 13 and age 18 are the most mobile times of kid increasing their religious commitment and involvement.

Also, there are more transitions than I would have thought. Multiplying out the cumulative risk of getting more religious during the teens ends up with a pretty big #.


(Tomorrow I'll post data regarding religious decrease.)


Ben Dubow said...

Interesting to see the data.

From my experience in youth ministry, the data seems very true. I used to see the same "U" in terms of involvement with Young Life and youth group.

Good find!

S.S.Stone said...

Wisdom with maturity?

Brad Wright said...

Ben, it's interesting that this fits your youth group experience...

I hestitate to think of it as maturity, because I believe it goes down pretty fast in adulthood.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought teenagers became more religious during finals week...

S.S.Stone said...

"I hestitate to think of it as maturity, because I believe it goes down pretty fast in adulthood."

Really??? ;)

Andy,yes I think you're right! I always lit candles in church (RC) the night before any big exam...and my prayers were answered.

Brad Wright said...

True, true Andy. I suppose my goal, then, in my sociology of religion class is to make them pray?

Apparently your candles worked, Sarah.