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Emerging Adults' Religiousness and SpiritualityMeaning-Making in an Age of Transition$
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Carolyn McNamara Barry and Mona M. Abo-Zena

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199959181

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959181.001.0001

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Nonreligious and Atheist Emerging Adults

Nonreligious and Atheist Emerging Adults

Chapter:
(p.237) 14 Nonreligious and Atheist Emerging Adults
Source:
Emerging Adults' Religiousness and Spirituality
Author(s):

Luke W. Galen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199959181.003.0014

The growing demographic of nonreligious youth includes a range of individuals from the unaffiliated or “spirituals” to completely nonreligious atheists and agnostics. The latter tend to be overrepresented among the more highly educated, and display complex, analytical cognition. These emerging adults have personalities marked by high Openness to experience, but lower Agreeableness and social conformity. Nonreligious young adults are typically socially liberal with individualistic, nonauthoritarian values. Their family formation is often delayed, with fewer children and higher rates of singlehood and cohabitation. On one hand, those with low religiousness and infrequent church attendance tend to have more mental health problems and often report familial conflicts if they were raised religiously. However, confidently nonreligious youth in a supportive social context do not substantially differ from religious peers. More work is needed to separate the influences of nonbelief itself from other developmental and social factors.

Keywords:   nonreligiousness, atheism, apostasy, secularism, mental well-being, personality, cognition

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