NSYR Releases Major Report on Wave 2 Findings

Release Date: January 25, 2009

Download the report Religion and Spirituality on the Path Through Adolescence [PDF]

The National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) announces the release of a new report on adolescents in the United States based on the second wave of NSYR survey data. The report, entitled "Religion and Spirituality on the Path Through Adolescence," is authored by Melinda Lundquist Denton, Co-Investigator with the NSYR and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Clemson University, Lisa Pearce, Co-Principle Investigator of the second wave of the NSYR and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Christian Smith, Principal Investigator of the NSYR and Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame. This report is intended to be a concise summary of some of the key findings

In "Religion and Spirituality on the Path Through Adolescence," the authors examined religious and spiritual changes in the lives of adolescents in the United States across a three-year span. The comparison of NSYR survey responses from the same adolescents in 2002 and 2005 reveals relatively small but consistent decreases in conventional religious beliefs and practices. Although the majority of adolescents in this study remained stable in their religious beliefs, practices, and spirituality, a significant minority did experience slight shifts away from standard religious beliefs and decreases in religious practice. Overall, the dynamics in religiosity and spirituality among this nationally representative sample of adolescents reflect subtle changes--rather than large or dramatic shifts.

"Religion and Spirituality on the Path Through Adolescence" is intended to contribute to our understanding of the role religion plays in the lives of youth and young adults. The report's description of the religious activities and beliefs of today's teens will be beneficial to parents, religious practitioners and researchers alike. The report is available for free download as a PDF at the top of this page.

The National Study of Youth and Religion is funded by Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the project is to research the shape and influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of U.S. adolescents; to identify effective practices in the religious, moral and social formation of the lives of youth; to describe the extent to which youth participate in and benefit from the programs and opportunities that religious communities are offering to their youth; and to foster an informed national discussion about the influence of religion in youth's lives to encourage sustained reflection about and rethinking of our cultural and institutional practices with regard to youth and religion.

January 29, 2008