Identity As Impacted by Christian Conversion During Adolescence
Adolescence has been identified as the predominant time for both identity formation and religious conversion, yet research on possible interactions between these two phenomena of adolescence is lacking. This qualitative study explores detailed individual accounts of 6 adolescents’ reported conversion experiences in order to clarify the impact of Christian conversion during adolescence on identity. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) is used to find common themes in the accounts regarding how self-understanding (the basic constituent of identity) changes relative to conversion. Overall, the results present a comprehensive description of different yet interconnected preconversion, conversion-specific (i.e., during conversion), and postconversion relationships between conversion, self-understanding, and development. Specifically, the results show that preconversion relationships between self-understanding and development fostered a predisposition to conversion. Conversion-specific reciprocal (i.e., mutually influential) relationships between conversion, self-understanding, and development yielded changes in self-understanding that, in turn, altered the course of development. After conversion, ongoing reciprocity between conversion, self-understanding, and development, together with conversion-derived resources (both human and divine), facilitated positive, adaptive development of self-understanding. In all three time-periods, awareness of challenge-related needs influenced both the nature and extent of conversion-related change. The discussion covers how the results indicate that conversion enhances identity and identity development as well as covers implications of the findings for both practice and research.
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology (PsyD)
Wagener, Linda M.
Identity (Psychology) in adolescence, Teenagers, Adolescence, Self-perception in adolescence, Adolescent psychology