Date of Conferral
Religious disaffiliation among Millennials has increased significantly in the past decade alongside rapidly changing social relationships amplified by social media applications. In the United States, many Millennials claim no religious identity with many leaving their religion for a variety of reasons. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of religiously disaffiliated Millennials regarding their psychological health and well-being. Self-determination theory fulfilled the theoretical framework for examining the lived experiences of young adults regarding their well-being after religious disaffiliation. A purposive sample of 12 male and female religiously disaffiliated Millennials was recruited for semistructured interviews. Content analysis was used to code interviews, identify themes, and explore the lived experiences of disaffiliated young adults. Six themes emerged from the data analysis that included religious disaffiliates inherited their childhood religion; contradictory experiences highlighted a need to disaffiliate; after disaffiliation, individuals stopped attending the church with no other actions; after disaffiliation, participants appeared to be able to connect with their authentic self; participants had negative connotations of religion after disaffiliating; and families accepted disaffiliation after it occurred. The implications for social change include providing better understanding of the psychological health and well-being of Millennials who have disaffiliated, as well as demonstrating a need for future research that focuses on future generational cohorts and how religious organizations and churches are accounting for disaffiliation within their congregations.