Individual Transformation in Religious Commitment and Meaning

Michele Dillon and Paul Wink

in In the Course of a Lifetime

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780520249004
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940031 | DOI:
Individual Transformation in Religious Commitment and Meaning

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This chapter assesses change in individual levels of religiousness—discovering who increased or decreased in religiousness during their adult years. A sample study of some individuals that is highly stable as a group can show a lot of individual variability as long as increases in religiousness among some of the members are offset by declines in religiousness among other members. The data of the study of the individual differences of religiousness presented here indicate some distinct patterns of individual stability over time. Although a high proportion of the study participants who were highly religious in adolescence continued to be religious throughout adulthood, they were not universally so. Rather, a large number of individuals who were highly religious in adolescence became less religious in adulthood and, conversely, a substantial number of nonreligious adolescents became religious later in life. In short, adolescent religiousness is a robust, but not an overwhelmingly strong, predictor of religiousness.

Keywords: individual transformation; religious commitment; individual variability; religiousness; individual stability

Chapter.  8482 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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