A Faith of Their Own: Stability and Change in the Religiosity of America's Adolescents  -     By: Lisa Pearce
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A Faith of Their Own: Stability and Change in the Religiosity of America's Adolescents

Oxford University Press / 2010 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Designed for parents, ministry leaders, and pastors, this groundbreaking guide offers fresh insights to help understand and facilitate spiritual development in adolescents. Using survey research data and interviews with today's young adults, sociologists Pearce and Denton explore how religious beliefs, practices, and closeness to God change during the teen years. 256 pages, hardcover from Oxford University.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 256
Vendor: Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 2010
Dimensions: 9.25 X 6.13 (inches)
ISBN: 019975389X
ISBN-13: 9780199753895
Availability: Usually ships in 24-48 hours.

Publisher's Description

Adding to the contributions made by Soul Searching and Souls in Transition--two books which revolutionized our understanding of the religious lives of young Americans--Lisa Pearce and Melinda Lundquist Denton here offer a new portrait of teenage faith.

Drawing on the massive National Study of Youth and Religion's telephone surveys and in-depth interviews with more than 120 youth at two points in time, the authors chart the spiritual trajectory of American adolescents and young adults over a period of three years. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, the authors find that religion is an important force in the lives of most--though their involvement with religion changes over time, just as teenagers themselves do. Pearce and Denton weave in fascinating portraits of actual youth to give depth to mere numerical rankings of religiosity, which tend to prevail in large studies. One teenager might rarely attend a service, yet count herself profoundly religious; another might be deeply involved in a church's social world, yet claim to be "not, like, deep into the faith." They provide a new set of qualitative categories--Abiders, Assenters, Adapters, Avoiders, and Atheists--quoting from interviews to illuminate the shading between them. And, with their three-year study, they offer a rich understanding of the dynamic nature of faith in young people's lives during a period of rapid change in biology, personality, and social interaction. Not only do degrees of religiosity change, but so does its nature, whether expressed in institutional practices or personal belief.

By presenting a new model of religious development and change, illustrated with compelling personal accounts of real teenagers, Pearce and Denton offer parents, scholars, and religious leaders a new guide for understanding religious development in teens.

Author Bio


Lisa D. Pearce is Associate Professor of Sociology and Fellow at the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She is the co-author, with William G. Axinn, of Mixed Method Data Collection Strategies.

Melinda Lundquist Denton is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Clemson University. She is the co-author, with Christian Smith, of Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers.

Publisher's Weekly

The National Study of Youth and Religion has produced numerous significant books and articles about the state of adolescent religiosity, and authors Pearce and Denton’s most recent contribution is no exception. Studying a group of teenagers, the two sociologists examine how the teens’ attitudes about faith change (or don’t) as they get older. The authors find, much to even their own surprise, that adolescent religiosity either stays the same or increases over time. The book is filled to the brim with fascinating new data as well as helpful categories (three Cs to measure and describe religiosity: content, conduct, and centrality; five As that describe types of believers: abiders, adapters, assenters, avoiders, and atheists) for both reframing scholarly understanding and evaluating adolescent religiosity. An audience of academics, graduate students, and ministry practitioners will find the authors’ dense prose worth the investment required to get at their results. Pearce and Denton tell numerous teens’ stories to illuminate their categories, yet readers may wish the authors had quoted these young women and men more directly in narrative form. This latest publication from the NSYR will be a useful addition to graduate courses especially. (Jan.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews


"A Faith of Their Own is a terrific and succinct introduction to the NSYR. Its analysis is clear, its exposition is clean, and its interpretative typology merits wide adoption." --Sociology of Religion


"A Faith of Their Own moves the conversation on adolescent spirituality significantly forward by examining, not a static snapshot of teenagers' religious lives, but the ways in which these lives change during adolescence; the authors' conclusions will surprise and challenge you. Pearce and Denton write with the confidence of people who know, and love, their subjects, making A Faith of Their Own a dynamic, accessible, and often unexpected map of adolescents' spiritual terrain. If you know and love a teenager, you're going to need this book." --Kenda Creasy Dean, author of Almost Christian: What the Faith of Our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church


"This nuanced, comprehensive book will become the standard reference for anyone seeking a sensitive and rigorous analysis of the religious lives of American adolescents. Dispensing with the hand-wringing that accompanies many accounts, the authors take a multidimensional approach to religiosity, emphasize stability and normal development processes, and explore the effects of religious consistency on well-being as teenagers transition into young adulthood--a smart take on American religiosity and American youth."
-- Penny Edgell, author of Religion and Family in a Changing Society


"Pearce and Denton bring the content, conduct and centrality of religion to life for youth today. They successfully integrate rich person-centered accounts of the meaning and practice of religion among teens using in-depth conversations with youth themselves, combined with variable-centered analyses of a national survey study of youth and religion. A Faith of Their Own thus makes an important contribution to the use of mixed methods, in addition to its path-breaking findings regarding the religious life of American youth." --Thomas S. Weisner, Professor of Anthropology, Departments of Psychiatry & Anthropology, UCLA


"The book is filled to the brim with fascinating new data as well as helpful categories for both reframing scholarly understanding and evaluating adolescent religiosity." --Publishers Weekly


"...the book will prove rewarding to all--whether parents, youth leaders, students or academics--who have an interest in teen religious behavior." --Library Journal


"All in all , A Faith of their Own is a terrific and succinct introduction to the NSYR, It's analysis is clear, its explosition is clean, and it's interpreative typology merits wide adoption."--Tim Clydesdale


"...AFOTO is simultaneously sophisticated yet simple for readers to grasp."--Jenny Trinitapoli, Pennsylvania State University


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