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Openness and spiritual development in adolescents

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Chapter Summary

In the social science literature, Smith and Denton's mixed-methods investigation of adolescent Religiosity and spirituality (R/S) remains the only detailed and comprehensive portrait of the R/S beliefs, practices, and attitudes of today's youth in the United States. The adolescents described open and nonjudgmental friends as critical to feeling that their R/S concerns were normal, which was communicated through conversations and shared experiences. The overarching finding of contextually facilitated openness is consistent with the literature to date on adolescent development of nonspiritual faculties. Scholars have observed that the primary domains of development, including the cognitive, moral, social, and spiritual, progress in synchrony towards increasing complexity and sophistication in response to biological and environmental influences. The contribution of openness to spiritual development in adolescents was interpreted at the level of the self, family, and peer group. Implications of the findings are understood against the extant literature on adolescent development.

Keywords: adolescents; Denton; religiosity and spirituality (R/S); Smith; United States



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