Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Deborah Van Duinen

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The purpose of this Phase 1 study was to explore adolescents’ faith-related literacy practices and thus build on a growing field of research on adolescents’ religious experiences (Smith and Denton, 2003; Dean, 2010). To collect data, we designed an online survey consisting of both qualitative and quantitative questions. The 37 participants, two-thirds of them female, were recruited from youth groups in and around a small midwestern town. 91% of the respondents reported that they attended youth group on a weekly basis. As a whole, we discovered that most adolescents seem to identify more with the relational aspect of their faith than they do with traditional religious literacy practices such as reading a Bible and devotionals on a regular basis. Faith-related literacy practices, for the teens we surveyed, seemed to be mostly social in purpose, function, and motivation.


This research was supported by a grant from the Carl Frost Center for Social Science Research.