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The Psychology of Youth Faith Formation

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A care-giving faith?

image of Journal of Youth and Theology

The present study explores the individual differences in the experience of faith formation using the framework of attachment theory, as it looks at what inspires attachment behaviours toward God. The experience of faith formation is herewith conceptualised in this study as a care-giving experience, watered by reciprocity of proximity with a divine attachment figure. The findings suggest four individual pathways in which the faith of young people was formed. These pathways were seen as remedies for previous insecure attachment experience with unavailable human attachment figures, and as a means of enhancing an already positive attachment with human relational partners. In-depth interviews were conducted with fifteen Christian youths of various racial backgrounds who were active members of different church denominations in Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. The data collected from the respondents suggests youth faith formation as an attachment phenomenon.

Affiliations: 1: Research Associate, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa,


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