Special Issue "Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mona M. Abo-Zena
Website
Guest Editor
University of Massachusetts Boston, 100 William T, Morrissey Blvd, Boston, MA 02125, United States
Interests: Religion and spirituality as dimensions of diversity within children, families, and communities; Equity-based perspectives on development of diverse youth; Immigrant-origin children and families; Religious minorities
Dr. Meenal Rana
Website
Guest Editor
Humboldt State University, 1 Harpst St, Arcata, CA 95521, USA
Interests: Ethnoreligious identity development in youth; ethnoreligious minorities; parental socialization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

While the last two decades have marked a burgeoning focus on the role of religion and spirituality in the positive development of youth, there remain multiple underexplored processes, contexts and processes that shape development and outcomes for diverse youth and families. Using an ecological framework and life span perspective, this special issue on the role of religion and spirituality in positive youth development addresses the gaps in scholarship. Further, drawing from interdisciplinary conceptual frameworks and diverse research methods, it focuses on studying underrepresented populations, developmental outcomes of religiosity and spirituality, contexts of socialization, and perspectives within positive youth development as well as challenges to it. While the focus is on the role of religion and spirituality, the framing is from an intersectional perspective on religious identity development that attends to other social positions and identities in contexts that are differentially stratified such as ethnicity, socioeconomic background, nationality, and immigration.

This special issue will contribute to the existing literature in multiple ways: 1. While youth development generally focuses on adolescence and emerging adulthood, this special issue will consider a lifespan perspective in order to consider antecedents in early childhood and the effects of socializing agents throughout the lifespan, including caregivers and religious mentors, as well as the effects of contexts such as racism and xenophobia on youth development; 2. The field of the psychology of religion has been identified as having a disproportional focus on Protestant Christian samples, experiences, and theology; this issue seeks to represent underrepresented faith traditions and their related experiences; 3. This special issue will draw from interdisciplinary perspectives and the correspondingly diverse research methods and conceptual models to understand the complex developmental processes and interplay between religion and other social identities in context.

Dr. Mona M. Abo-Zena
Dr. Meenal Rana
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • religion
  • spirituality
  • positive youth development
  • intersectionality
  • mixed-methods
  • lifespan
  • context
  • ecological frameworks

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
Exploring Religiousness and Hope: Examining the Roles of Spirituality and Social Connections among Salvadoran Youth
Religions 2020, 11(2), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11020075 - 07 Feb 2020
Abstract
Given the strong link between religiousness and hope, we sought to further understand the relations of these potentially powerful resources for youth living in adversity. Although existing research suggests that religiousness might be associated with adolescent hope via spirituality and social connections, few [...] Read more.
Given the strong link between religiousness and hope, we sought to further understand the relations of these potentially powerful resources for youth living in adversity. Although existing research suggests that religiousness might be associated with adolescent hope via spirituality and social connections, few studies have tested models that integrate both. Thus, as applied psychologists, the aim of this paper was to test a theoretical model in the lives of youth. Drawing on a Relational Developmental Systems metatheory, we sought to further elucidate the relations between religiousness and hope and to explore how involvement in the faith-based youth-development organization, Compassion International (CI), might facilitate character strengths like hope. In order to do so, we tested whether religiousness was directly and indirectly (via spirituality and social connection) related to hopeful future expectations, using a sample of 9–15-year-olds in El Salvador (M = 11.6 years; n = 888), half of whom were involved in CI and the other half of whom were a locally matched counterfactual sample. Structural equation models revealed that higher levels of religiousness were directly and indirectly associated with higher levels of hope in relation to higher levels of spirituality and social connections among these youth. CI-supported youth reported significantly higher levels of religiousness than the counterfactual sample. Findings suggest that the relationship between religiousness and hope is best understood when it incorporates youth’s spirituality and social connections associated with religion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Where Our Bright Star Is Cast: Religiosity, Spirituality, and Positive Black Development in Urban Landscapes
Religions 2019, 10(12), 654; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120654 - 29 Nov 2019
Abstract
Social science research offers a particular, narrow view of the lived experiences of Black urban-residing people. When the religious and spiritual lives of Black urban residents are viewed through this narrow lens, the diversity of religious and spiritual experiences and the connections between [...] Read more.
Social science research offers a particular, narrow view of the lived experiences of Black urban-residing people. When the religious and spiritual lives of Black urban residents are viewed through this narrow lens, the diversity of religious and spiritual experiences and the connections between everyday life and positive outcomes, such as compassion, hope, liberation, joy, etc., become flattened, doing a disservice to the very people whose experiences we aim to understand. We contend that understanding the link between religiosity, spirituality, and positive development among Black urban-residing people requires us to pay attention to the ways that faith helps Black people to navigate the sequelae of five distinct sociopolitical features of urban life. We propose a conceptual framework that links these sociopolitical factors to religiosity, spirituality, and positive development among Black youth and adults residing in urban spaces. We conclude with recommendations applicable to the study of Black urban religiosity and spirituality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Developmental Implications of Children’s Early Religious and Spiritual Experiences in Context: A Sociocultural Perspective
Religions 2019, 10(11), 631; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110631 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
Religious and spiritual experiences have implications for many aspects of development across the lifespan, including during early childhood. A focus on religion and spirituality expands beyond a discrete domain of social science (e.g., cognitive development) and involves developmental, social-psychological, affective and emotional phenomena, [...] Read more.
Religious and spiritual experiences have implications for many aspects of development across the lifespan, including during early childhood. A focus on religion and spirituality expands beyond a discrete domain of social science (e.g., cognitive development) and involves developmental, social-psychological, affective and emotional phenomena, and personality. This conceptual paper contributes to the literature regarding the understudied role of religion and spirituality in the lives of young children and their families in order to contribute to a comprehensive study of human development. After a concise review of the literature on religious development, this paper draws from the sociocultural perspective and illustrative examples of lived experiences to frame young children’s religious participation and gives particular consideration to religious minorities. While the sociocultural perspective captures the range of children’s experiences, this manuscript introduces the understudied role of emotion as a motivator for children’s selection of experiences. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research, practice, and policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Open AccessArticle
Mistaken Identities: The Media and Parental Ethno-Religious Socialization in a Midwestern Sikh Community
Religions 2019, 10(10), 571; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100571 - 12 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Strong anti-Islamic sentiments increased dramatically after the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, leading to an uptick in prejudice and the perpetration of hate crimes targeting Muslims. Sikh men and boys, often mistaken for Muslims, suffered as collateral damage. The overall health [...] Read more.
Strong anti-Islamic sentiments increased dramatically after the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States, leading to an uptick in prejudice and the perpetration of hate crimes targeting Muslims. Sikh men and boys, often mistaken for Muslims, suffered as collateral damage. The overall health of both communities has been adversely affected by these experiences. Faced with such realities, communities and parents often adopt adaptive behaviors to foster healthy development in their children. In this paper, drawing on interviews with 23 Sikh parents from 12 families, we examine Sikh parents’ ethno-religious socialization of their children. The confluence of media stereotyping and mistaken identities has shaped Sikh parents’ beliefs regarding their children’s retention/relinquishment of outward identity markers. Sikh parents, in general, are concerned about the safety of their boys, due to the distinctive appearance of their religious markers, such as the turban. They are engaged in a constant struggle to ensure that their children are not identified as Muslims and to protect them from potential harm. In most of the families in our study, boys were raised to give up wearing the indicators of their ethno-religious group. In addition, many parents took responsibility for educating the wider community about their ethno-religious practices through direct communication, participation in cultural events, and support of other ethno-religious minorities. Policy implications are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Open AccessArticle
Religion and Positive Youth Development: Challenges for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Religions 2019, 10(10), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100540 - 20 Sep 2019
Abstract
While previous research confirms the role religion can play in positive youth development, much existing research leaves out consideration of underrepresented populations. One important underrepresented population is children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which now impacts one in 59 children in [...] Read more.
While previous research confirms the role religion can play in positive youth development, much existing research leaves out consideration of underrepresented populations. One important underrepresented population is children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which now impacts one in 59 children in the United States. Using qualitative data collected from in depth, semi-structured, face-to-face interviews of 53 parents/caregivers, in this article, we analyze barriers and opportunities in religious education for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder. We analyze factors impacting whether parents perceive their children to have a supportive and appropriate religious education experience or an unsupportive and alienating experience. We also provide recommendations for congregations and argue for inclusion of children with autism spectrum disorder in future research on religion and positive youth development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Open AccessArticle
Studying Sacred Texts as a Pathway to Positive Youth Development: Middle School Students Read Hebrew Bible
Religions 2019, 10(6), 379; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060379 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
In many religious education classrooms, the meaning of a sacred text is treated as something stable and authoritative. A teacher’s job is to transmit that meaning to students. This study reports on a year-long intervention conducted in a seventh grade Hebrew Bible classroom [...] Read more.
In many religious education classrooms, the meaning of a sacred text is treated as something stable and authoritative. A teacher’s job is to transmit that meaning to students. This study reports on a year-long intervention conducted in a seventh grade Hebrew Bible classroom in which students were asked to find their own meaning in the biblical text. The study found that religious text classrooms can offer a unique opportunity to support positive youth development when an effective interpretive community is created. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
Positive Youth Religious and Spiritual Development: What We Have Learned from Religious Families
Religions 2019, 10(10), 548; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100548 - 25 Sep 2019
Abstract
In this article, we highlight the contributions of the findings from a branch of the American Families of Faith national research project that pertain to positive religious and spiritual development in youth. We present detailed findings from six previous studies on religious youth [...] Read more.
In this article, we highlight the contributions of the findings from a branch of the American Families of Faith national research project that pertain to positive religious and spiritual development in youth. We present detailed findings from six previous studies on religious youth and their parents from diverse faith communities (various denominations in Christianity, three major branches of Judaism, and two major groups in Islam). We discuss what our findings suggest for positive religious/spiritual development, particularly in a family context. Finally, we suggest several ways to strengthen the literature on development in youth by exploring positive religious/spiritual development in relation to (a) social and political activism, (b) popular media and music, (c) participation in secular activities (e.g., sports, arts, gaming), (d) wrestling with BIG questions (i.e., questions involving Being, Intimacy, and God), (e) conversion and disaffiliation, (f) interfaith knowledge and experience, (g) impactful personal experiences, (h) volunteerism and service, (i) religious rituals, ceremonies, and traditions, (j) mental illness, (k) mindfulness and meditation, (l) temperament and personality, (m) agency and personal choices, (n) sexual orientation and experiences, and (o) generative devotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Perspectives on Religion and Positive Youth Development)
Back to TopTop