Abstract: An impressive research literature has emerged that identifies linkages between religion and a wide range of attitudes, behaviors, and life events. We contribute to this literature by exploring how women undergoing difficult life circumstances—such as incarceration, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, unemployment, and homelessness—use faith to cope with and change these circumstances. To address this issue we analyze semi-structured interviews with 40 residents of a faith-based transitional center for women in the Southern United States. The residents outline a narrative of change in which they distinguish between the “old self” and “new self.” The narratives also specify the role of religiosity in facilitating change, the creation of a faith-based identity, and the strategies used for maintaining change. We conclude with implications for faith-based treatment programs, local pastors and religious congregants involved in social outreach ministry, sociology of religion scholars, and policy makers.
Keywords: religiosity; identity; correctional treatment; transitional centers
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Kerley, K.R.; Copes, H.; Linn, A.J.; Eason, L.; Nguyen, M.H.; Stone, A.M. Understanding Personal Change in a Women’s Faith-Based Transitional Center. Religions 2011, 2, 184-197.
Kerley KR, Copes H, Linn AJ, Eason L, Nguyen MH, Stone AM. Understanding Personal Change in a Women’s Faith-Based Transitional Center. Religions. 2011; 2(2):184-197.
Kerley, Kent R.; Copes, Heith; Linn, Alana J.; Eason, Lauren; Nguyen, Minh H.; Stone, Ariana Mishay. 2011. "Understanding Personal Change in a Women’s Faith-Based Transitional Center." Religions 2, no. 2: 184-197.