Journal Article

Poor Teenagers' Religion*

Philip Schwadel

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 69, issue 2, pages 125-149
Published in print January 2008 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2008 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/69.2.125
Poor Teenagers' Religion*

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Empirical research has ignored the effects of poverty on adolescent religion even though children are far more likely than adults to live in poverty in the United States. The current research demonstrates considerable differences in the religious activities and religious viewpoints of poor and non-poor, American teenagers. Analysis of National Study of Youth and Religion survey data shows that while poor teenagers are especially likely to pray, read religious scriptures, and report high levels of personal faith, they are unlikely to regularly participate in organized religious activities. Other findings include poor teenagers' emphasis on role reversal in the afterlife, their apparently conventional levels of interaction with secular society, and their low likelihood of reporting the types of emotional religious experiences that are commonly associated with lower class religion. The findings highlight the important role poverty plays in shaping the religious outlooks and activities of adolescents, as well as the need for researchers to consider the role of social class when analyzing Americans' religious beliefs and activities.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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