A Longitudinal Study of Religious Identity and Participation During Adolescence


  • Support for this study was provided by the Russell Sage Foundation. The authors also thank the participating students and schools for their assistance.

concerning this article should be addressed to Andrew J. Fuligni, Center for Culture and Health, University of California, Los Angeles, 760 Westwood Plaza, Box 62, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Electronic mail may be sent to afuligni@ucla.edu.


To examine the development of religious identity during the teenage years, adolescents (= 477) from Latin American, Asian, and European backgrounds completed questionnaires in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades (10th grade age: M = 15.81, SD = 0.36). Results indicated that religious identity remained stable across high school whereas religious participation declined. Even after controlling for ethnic differences in religious affiliation, socioeconomic background, and generational status, adolescents from Latin American and Asian backgrounds reported higher levels of religious identity and adolescents from Latin American backgrounds reported higher rates of religious participation. Within individual adolescents, changes in religious identity were associated with changes in ethnic and family identities, suggesting important linkages in the development of these social identities during adolescence.