Adolescence can be defined as a period in a young person’s life between the years of 13-15 years old. Adolescence is a time for great change and uncertainty of the future. There are biopsychosocial changes, heightened awareness, and changes in cognition in this developmental period (Rogers,2019). During this time in the young adult’s life, many factors take shape, such as the young person’s role in family dynamics,physiological mood/ hormonal changes, and awareness of oneself in social circles. In my own experience, adolescence was a time where things became more clear to me, as I began to understand my place in the world around me. Empirical data taken in the United States suggest a link between spirituality and better health outcomes(Chen &Vanderweele,2008). Furthermore, adolescents who are raised in families that practice religion/ spirituality are less likely to indulge in risky behaviors, suggesting that spirituality/ religious affiliation may serve as a “protective factor”(Chen &Vanderweele,2008).
In recent years there has been a shift in societal problems, with the introduction to social media and gun violence in schools. Adolescents are exposed to more violence than the previous years. I believe spirituality in adolescence is an important topic in the social welfare of children because many growing adults do not have social support systems in place. Depression, anxiety, and suicide have increased among the adolescent population.Having a spiritual understanding can be very comforting in times of adversity and uncertainty. Besides, spirituality has an impact in decreasing depression and suicidal ideation among young teens Chen &Vanderweele,2008).
I will summarize various factors that influence spirituality development in adolescence. Presenting data linked to family and social influence that aid in processing of spirituality to an adolescent. I chose to research this topic because I understand the benefits of having a spiritual connection. Adolescence is a critical time in molding perception to adulthood. I believe spirituality afforded a sense of foundational support,purpose and resiliency to adverse times in my life.
Research on identity development in adolescence connect spirituality to higher levels of commitment and meaningful relationships in adulthood. A 2019 cross-sectional study looked at the relationship between identity development and eastern religion in 969 japanese participants, age ranging from 18-30 years old. The study divided belief systems into two categories: “Literal and Symbolic”(Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019) The literal category can be described as a structured set of doctrine right before you. For example, let’s consider the 10 commandments in monothestic western theology. This is a set of guidelines to the believer of things one must withstand from . The symbolic group is associated with more flexibility and subjective experience. Both categories, “inward and invisible” were measured along with a person oriented approach(Identity statuses) and a “variable centered approach,” utilizing a “three- factor identity model”(Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019). This study relied heavily upon 2 key factors of Erikson’s theory of psycho-social development. The first was exploration, “Actively searching for one’s own goals. The second was commitment, “Making a firm choice”Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019).
51.3% of participants were female, while 48.7% were male. The participants were all actively attending a University. A self-reported questionnaire was used for participants to answer questions regarding faith, commitment, and religious affiliation.The study had two hypotheses relating to commitment and reconsideration of commitment.The first hypothesis sought to find a relationship between “high level of commitment” and an increased level of religious belief. The second hypothesis proposed “reconsideration of commitment” would have more symbolic beliefs (Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019). Multiple descriptive statistics were used. A Chi square Bivariate table and MANOVA (used to decipher differences in identity categories)were used to calculate and distinguish variables. The dependent variables were religious belief systems. The independent variables were identity statuses, and whether or not the participants had belief in religion.
The results were broken down into five identity groups, “Achievement, Foreclosure Moratorium, Searching Moratorium and Diffusion”(Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019). The Achievement group scored high on commitment and low on reconsideration of commitment. While, foreclosure status scored intermediate on commitment and low on reconsideration of commitment.The moratorium group scored low on both commitment and reconsideration of commitment.while the diffusion group scored lower commitment and high on reconsideration of commitment. The searching moratorium group scored both high on commitment and reconsideration of commitment.finally, the diffusion groups scored low on all identity processes(Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019).
The findings of the “ Culturally Sensitive Approach to the Relationships between Identity Formation and Religious Beliefs in Youth” study were particularly interesting in Japanese college students. Prior to the study, I was not aware that the majority of Japanese youths believe in eastern religions.There were positive relationships present for participants who were both committed and had a belief in religion.however, there were some drawbacks in the study. One of which was the fact that Japanese youth family support and friendships were not considered to be relevant in identity formation of Japanese youth. In addition, the study was cross-sectional, with limitations on the amount of specific evidence in identity formation. However, there is significance in having involvement in the practice of religion. Furthermore, even though the study does not pinpoint religion as being the sole characteristic of identity formation, it is a contributing factor and shows a positive association with commitment and/ or the re establishing commitment(Crocetti,Hihara,Matushima,Sugimura Takashi,2019).