Adolescent development in the church

This work is protected by copyright and may be linked to without seeking permission.

Adolescent development in the church

Thomas and Craig Carver Abstract A review of the research on religious influence on adolescent social competence shows that religious commitment is consistently related to increased competence. Research that is most often done relates religiosity to measures of low social competence such as substance abuse, deviant behavior, or self-derogation and reveals an inverse pattern of relationships.

Future research could profitably focus more on the social support function of the religious institution rather than concentrate on the social control function emphasized in past research.

Religious commitment not only helps adolescents develop interpersonal skills and a set of positive values about life in the here and now, but it Adolescent development in the church assists adolescents in making important plans for the future.

Chapter 12: Religion and Adolescent Social Competence

This ability to plan for the future is an important dimension of adolescent social competence preparatory for moving into the young adult years. The theoretical formulation informing our discussion is Adolescent development in the church general social psychological one that assumes the human organism is equipped at birth to seek out those responsive elements in the environment that allow for maximal growth and development.

We agree with Smithwho argues that any position that requires biology to carry ethics is deficient. We also see the human being developing capacities so that at some point he or she becomes partly responsible for the trajectory that development takes see Rollins and Thomas for a more in-depth discussion of these underlying assumptions.

A useful way of talking about environmental influences on social competence is to conceptualize any social order as varying on two fundamental axes; namely, the amount of emotional support and encouragement for individual growth and development and the amount of control or restriction placed upon individual development.

Our use of the concepts of support and control as important dimensions of the religious sphere allows us to call attention to the two important functions that religion performs: In this chapter we use the support and control constructs in the religious sphere to help assess religious influence upon social competence.

We review the extant empirical research that links religiosity to various dimensions of social competence. The Place of Religion in Contemporary Adolescent Research There is considerable agreement that since the social sciences have experienced an unusual resurgence of interest in the study of religion Thomas ; Thomas and Cornwall ; Thomas and Henry This in and of itself is an intriguing set of occurrences in the social sciences, given that from the early s up to the study of religion, at least in the United States, had dwindled significantly—to the point that the psychology of religion, for example, was pronounced dead Beit-Hallahmi In terms of the effect this new emphasis has had on this chapter, we should ask: Has the study of adolescence mirrored this increased interest in religion?

In attempting to answer this question, we consulted sixty textbooks published from to in the area of child and adolescent development and analyzed them in an attempt to see increasing or decreasing patterns of discussions of religion.

We found no evidence of increasing interest in the study of religion as it relates to human growth and development, specifically in the substantive area of adolescence: Only two of the sixty books had a chapter that included the topic of religion in the title.

Neither the word religion nor any of its derivatives were found in any of forty-six chapters in the fourth edition of the four-volume Mussen Handbook of Child Psychology Perhaps the presence of this chapter in a book on adolescent development as it relates to social competence may be indicative of the beginning of interest in religion.

Religion and Social Incompetence Our review of the extant empirical research leads us to conclude that when empirical studies of religion and social competence have been carried out, they have more traditionally focused on low social competence; or, put another way, they have focused on those devalued adolescent attitudinal and behavioral variables.

This is largely due to the fact that the topic of substance abuse concerning alcohol, drugs, and so on has been the major area in which religious influence has been analyzed. Because the amount of published material in any of the four substantive areas is voluminous, we have selected only five studies with representative findings in each area.

As can be seen from the table, it is clear that a consistent relationship emerges in the literature: The higher the involvement in the religious sphere, the lower the frequency, intensity, or duration of these various forms of antisocial behavior.

Much of the available research merely measures religion as affiliation within a particular denomination. The denominations are seen as ones that have greater normative pressures against the use of particular substances or behavior. We then conclude that the denominations are influential in controlling and reducing this particular behavior.

Adolescent development in the church

The most convincing research, however, shows that, within any one denomination, the level of religious commitment that members of that denomination experience in their attendance patterns or belief patterns likewise predicts differential levels of acceptance of deviant behavior.

Thus all of this research clearly shows that it is not just the denominational emphasis upon particular beliefs Cornwall and Thomas but the degree to which the adolescent has internalized those values related to the respective behavior.

The dominant theoretical orientation underlying virtually all of the extant research that sees religious involvement as inversely related to antisocial behavior is best described as social control theory. The controlling and guiding influence of religious authority is emphasized.

One searches almost in vain for analyses of the possible role of religion as socially supportive, motivational, or facilitative. Religion and Social Competence Table First, when looking at the table, note that there are considerably fewer studies that link positive developmental aspects to religion.

This is an important finding. The most obvious pattern from the data is the consistency of results across these studies showing that involvement in and commitment to religion is positively correlated with social competence.

This finding addresses a current controversy in the field: Is religion related to positive or negative outcomes Batson and Ventis ; Bergin ; Judd ; Thomas ?

Adolescent development in the church

When the patterns of findings in tables There are not enough studies in any one substantive area to make conclusive judgments about whether religion seems to be more effective at producing some positive outcomes rather than others. With fewer than five studies in any one substantive area, a summary attempt such as this at best can present only tenuous suggestions.

The data do not allow us to draw firm conclusions as to why this would be so.Ministry with adolescents utilizes each of the Church’s ministries—advocacy, catechesis, community life, evangelization, justice and service, leadership development, pastoral care, prayer and worship—in an integrated approach to achieve the three goals for ministry.

Thank you for subscribing to the voice.

Religion and Spirituality in Childhood and Adolescence Lisa J. Bridges, Ph.D. with Kristin A. Moore, Ph.D. January, A Conceptual and Theoretical Overview of Religious and Spiritual Development .

Religion's Role in the Development of Youth Geoffrey L. Ream Cornell University Researchers and policymakers generally underestimate the prevalence of religion among America's youth, the impact of religion on their lives, and their agency over their own religious and spiritual development.

Youth Ministry & Adolescent Faith Formation! Lifelong Faith Lifelong Faith is published quarterly by LifelongFaith Associates, LLC. ISSN # Jul 19,  · Understanding adolescent brain development and adolescent development in general is the second most important thing that any youth worker can do to improve their effectiveness in ministry, said Mark Oestreicher, president of Youth Specialties, in an interview with Kara Powell, executive director Center for Youth and Family caninariojana.comtion: Christian Post Reporter.


To me, the Church, the body of Christ, is called to make disciples in the world, and parents that are a part of the Church have special responsibilities as far as that’s concern.

But we have so many teenagers in our world who do not have parents that are participating in the Church, that are not engaged in church.

Ministry with Adolescents - Immaculate Conception Church