Religious and Socioemotional Effects on Adolescent’s Development of Generosity in Context: Participation in Religiously Affiliated Charity Marathons

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The effects of religiousness on the development of generosity is a topic of great interest to scientists and practitioners alike, but methodological and research design constraints of previous studies limit conclusions that can be made from the extant literature. It is hypothesized that a more nuanced research design will demonstrate and enduring impact of religiosity on generosity even after accounting for basic socioemotional processes. A cross-lag path analysis was conducted to study simultaneous and longitudinal effects of intrinsic religiousness and socioemotional factors on generosity in the context of a religiously affiliated charity marathon training group. A group of 239 adolescents were assessed at multiple time points from pre-training to post-race. Results indicated that, after controlling for pre-training scores, religiosity mid-training was a predictor of subsequent generosity post-race, as was positive affectivity at mid-training. Group entitativity was also cross-sectionally associated with positive affectivity. Group entitativity at mid-training was negatively associated with subsequent fundraising at post-race. The findings of this study underscore the need to study adolescent’s’ religious development and generosity development in the context of the dynamic interplay between intraindividual and interindividual developmental processes, and highlight the unique role of religious development on positive development more broadly. Implications and future directions are discussed.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)

First Advisor

Schnitker, Sarah A.

Document Type





Generosity, Christian stewardship, Conduct of life, Religious life, Youth development




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