Before and after a General Theology Course: An Examination of College Students’ Religious Identity

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Rodger Narloch, Psychology


An important component of young adulthood involves the exploration of religious beliefs, identity, and traditions. In the present study, I used archival data of 70 participants in a longitudinal study conducted at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University to determine how students’ scores on measures of identity exploration and commitment, intrinsic and extrinsic religious motivation, general and religious self-concept clarity, Quest, and self-reflection changed after completing an introductory theology course. Data showed an increase in pre-post exploration for women, but not for men, as well as significant relationships between gender and commitment and extrinsic religiosity. Furthermore, data revealed a pre-post increase in general self-concept clarity. In addition to significant relationships between extrinsic and intrinsic religious motivation and participation in religious activities, there were also significant pre-post x participation in religious activities interactions for religious self-concept clarity, extrinsic religious motivation, and Quest. This indicates that scores for religious activity non participants increased to the level of religious activity participants post course for religious self-concept clarity and extrinsic motivation, while the scores post course were higher for religious activity participants than non religious activity participants for Quest.