Research Publication Title

Religious Beliefs and Practices Among College Students

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dana Wood Ashley Taylor

Keywords

college students, religiosity, developmental psychology

Abstract

The goals of this study are a) to investigate how religious behaviors and beliefs change across the transition to college, b) to investigate reasons for change and stability in religious behaviors and beliefs, and c) to investigate how patterns of change and stability are related to psychological well-being. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center (2015), the proportion of Americans who identify as Christian is declining, as those who identify as another religion or with no religious group is steadily increasing. In this study, we will examine this issue more closely using a sample of predominantly middle class young adults. To perform this study, we are collecting data from a sample of approximately 100 Georgia College undergraduate students through the psychology subjects pool. The study includes three measures of religiosity: a) religious behaviors (e.g., frequency of attendance at religious services), b) Christian beliefs (e.g., belief that God answers personal prayers), and c) general spirituality (e.g., belief in or the seeking of guidance from a higher power or deity that is bigger that oneself). Participants rate their level of agreement with reasons for stability and change in religious beliefs and practices across the transition to college. Participants also rate three measures of psychological well-being: self-worth, loneliness, and happiness. K-means cluster analysis will be used to identify naturally occurring patterns in high school and college beliefs and ANOVA will be used to investigate how each pattern is related to psychological well-being. Descriptive analyses will be conducted for data regarding reasons for stability and change.

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Religious Beliefs and Practices Among College Students

The goals of this study are a) to investigate how religious behaviors and beliefs change across the transition to college, b) to investigate reasons for change and stability in religious behaviors and beliefs, and c) to investigate how patterns of change and stability are related to psychological well-being. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center (2015), the proportion of Americans who identify as Christian is declining, as those who identify as another religion or with no religious group is steadily increasing. In this study, we will examine this issue more closely using a sample of predominantly middle class young adults. To perform this study, we are collecting data from a sample of approximately 100 Georgia College undergraduate students through the psychology subjects pool. The study includes three measures of religiosity: a) religious behaviors (e.g., frequency of attendance at religious services), b) Christian beliefs (e.g., belief that God answers personal prayers), and c) general spirituality (e.g., belief in or the seeking of guidance from a higher power or deity that is bigger that oneself). Participants rate their level of agreement with reasons for stability and change in religious beliefs and practices across the transition to college. Participants also rate three measures of psychological well-being: self-worth, loneliness, and happiness. K-means cluster analysis will be used to identify naturally occurring patterns in high school and college beliefs and ANOVA will be used to investigate how each pattern is related to psychological well-being. Descriptive analyses will be conducted for data regarding reasons for stability and change.