Keeping the Faith: Religious Transmission and Apostasy in Generation X

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dc.contributor.advisor Ronald Wimberley, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Ronald Czaja, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Catherine Zimmer, Committee Member en_US
dc.contributor.advisor Eric Woodrum, Committee Chair en_US Nooney, Jennifer Elizabeth en_US 2010-04-02T18:36:45Z 2010-04-02T18:36:45Z 2006-04-17 en_US
dc.identifier.other etd-03092006-220012 en_US
dc.description.abstract This research examines two social processes determining the religiosity of Generation Xers. One is the transmission of religious affiliation and behaviors from Boomer parents to their Generation X children. The other is apostasy -- the process of disengagement from religion -- measured over time as Xers aged into young adulthood. The study flows from and informs several theories of religious change at societal and individual levels, including secularization theory and the related cultural broadening theory, social learning theory, and rational choice theory. The study also speaks to questions of generational continuity and change. Hypotheses are tested using nationally representative data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Analyses show that many of the potent predictors of transmission and apostasy found in past research continue to be strong predictors among members of Generation X. High levels of parental involvement in religion were associated with more effective transmission of religious affiliation. Other factors facilitating transmission included two-parent household structures, religious homogamy among parents, good parent-child relationships, and conservative Protestant or Catholic background. Lower levels of apostasy were associated with high levels of parental and adolescent involvement in 1995, good parent-child relationships, college attendance, and well-educated parents. Results show that Generation X adolescents are adopting the religion of their parents at relatively high rates and that their rates of apostasy compare favorably to those of their Boomer parents during the 1970s. Support was found for each of the perspectives on individual religious change except cultural broadening theory, and by association, the societal-level perspective of secularization theory. None of the results suggest that college education -- a broadening experience that may challenge students' world views -- contributes to apostasy. This research shows that there is no reason to suspect that the religious subsystem of American society is in serious danger owing to a high rate of religious defection in Generation X. en_US
dc.rights I hereby certify that, if appropriate, I have obtained and attached hereto a written permission statement from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis, dissertation, or project report, allowing distribution as specified below. I certify that the version I submitted is the same as that approved by my advisory committee. I hereby grant to NC State University or its agents the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible, under the conditions specified below, my thesis, dissertation, or project report in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. I retain all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis, dissertation or project report. I also retain the right to use in future works (such as articles or books) all or part of this thesis, dissertation, or project report. en_US
dc.subject adolescence en_US
dc.subject social change en_US
dc.subject religious defection en_US
dc.subject secularization en_US
dc.subject socialization en_US
dc.title Keeping the Faith: Religious Transmission and Apostasy in Generation X en_US PhD en_US dissertation en_US Sociology en_US

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