Date of Conferral
Martha A. Giles
The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons for the decline of young adult church attendance after an affiliation with church during childhood. Religion plays an important role in the lives of African Americans as a coping mechanism for loss, adversity, racism, and trauma. In addition, spiritual exploration is a component of psychological development during maturation. Using the social identity theory, the study explored the impact of childhood church affiliation and coping styles of young adults. African American Youth between 18 and 30 years old were randomly selected to complete a combination of questions from the Lasting Faith Scale, Private Religious Practices questions, Brief Religious/Spiritual Coping, and Organizational Religiousness scales (n = 103) via Survey Monkey to (a) assess variables which contributed to their decision on whether or not to continue participating in organized fellowship and (b) examine the relationship between the childhood affiliation and their adult coping styles. The design for the study was quantitative and comprised of correlational measurements using Spearman's Rho. Among young adults who attended church as children, there was a significant positive relationship between church attendance and positive spiritual coping. This study will increase church leaders' understanding of this congregation's needs. It will provide a framework for program development that addresses the needs of young adults as related to coping styles. The implication for social change is a greater understanding from church leaders and young adults of what is beneficial for the spiritual development of children and how it is related to identity and coping factors later in life.