A Literature Review and Analysis of the Effects of Religiosity on Adolescent Behavior
Weisman, Paris N.
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The purpose of this essay is to examine the existing body of research investigating adolescent behavior and the interacting factor of religiosity. Following a brief historical summary of the psychology of religion, religiosity is defined and measurements of religiosity are presented, followed by a review of the existing literature on adolescent religiosity. Participants in the research reviewed generally ranged in age from twelve to eighteen years, spanning the crucial years of adolescent development. The influence of ideological and social contexts is considered as it relates to the cognitive, physical, and emotional development occurring in adolescence, and the mechanisms of positive influence (such as social capital, social control, peer influence, mentor relationships/role models, etc.) are subsequently reviewed and analyzed. Existing literature concludes that adolescent religiosity is generally associated with a range of positive outcomes and protective factors. Further, the various negative outcomes associated with adolescent religiosity are considered, focusing on the influence of religious affiliation on a variety of sexual and mental health outcomes for young women. In conclusion, limitations and suggestions for future research are offered.