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Reaching the plateau: A follow up study on active adolescent Catholics.

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The weakening of religious identity amongst young people from so-called mainstream Churches is a well-described phenomenon in Australia as well as a number of European countries. This paper attempts to get a better understanding of this process by reinterviewing, three years after initial. contact, six active Catholic adolescents on their religious beliefs, practices, and identity. As a way of explaining the disaffiliation process, the concept of a Catholic plateau is introduced. It is typified by reaching a level of maximum commitment relatively early. and then 'experiencing a stabilization often followed by a gradual reduction in commitment. The paper will focus on factors such as changing social networking to help explain this phenomenon. The paper will rely on the narratives of these adolescents to illustrate various stages of the Catholic plateau.


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