Empirical Research

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 38, Issue 9, pp 1153-1171

Just Another Club? The Distinctiveness of the Relation Between Religious Service Attendance and Adolescent Psychosocial Adjustment

  • Marie GoodAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock University Email author 
  • , Teena WilloughbyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock UniversityDepartment of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University
  • , Jan FritjersAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Brock UniversityDepartment of Child and Youth Studies, Brock University

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Abstract

This study used hierarchical linear modeling to compare longitudinal patterns of adolescent religious service attendance and club attendance, and to contrast the longitudinal relations between adolescent adjustment and religious service versus club attendance. Participants included 1050 students (47% girls) encompassing a school district in Canada, who completed the survey first in grade nine and again in grades 11 and 12. Results demonstrated that patterns of religious service attendance over time were quite different from other clubs. Religious attendance was uniquely associated with several indicators of positive as well as negative adjustment. Club involvement, conversely, was only associated with positive adjustment––particularly for individuals who reported sustained involvement over time. Findings suggest that religious services may provide some unique experiences––both positive and negative––over and above what may be provided in other clubs, and that sustained, rather than sporadic participation in clubs, may be especially important for adolescent adjustment.

Keywords

Religious service attendance Extracurricular club involvement Positive youth development Hierarchical linear modeling