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The Relationship between Status of Identity Development and Maturity of Faith. Faculty Conference October 8, 2004. Questions Commonly Asked by College Students. Who am I? What should I do? What is the meaning of life?. Purpose of Study. Identity. Faith.

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the relationship between status of identity development and maturity of faith

The Relationship between Status of Identity Development and Maturity of Faith

Faculty Conference

October 8, 2004

questions commonly asked by college students
Questions Commonly Asked by College Students
  • Who am I?
  • What should I do?
  • What is the meaning of life?
purpose of study
Purpose of Study

Identity

Faith

Hypothesis: Students’ level of identity development will be directly related to their faith maturity.

slide4

Identity

Faith:

Convictions

&

Behavior

Hypothesis: Students’ with a stronger sense of identity will have deeper faith convictions which will be lived out in concrete behavioral terms.

past research
Past Research
  • The college years are the “critical years” in development (Parks, 2000).
  • The college years are an important time of change for the individual self and the religious self (Lee, 2002).
  • Both healthy and unhealthy forms of development occur during the college years (Love and Talbot, 2002).
lack of research
Lack of Research
  • Theories of spiritual development have existed at the margins of student development theory for 20 years but have not been given serious consideration (Love, 2002).
  • Spirituality and spiritual development have been conspicuously absent from student development theories and ignored by many student affairs professionals (Love & Talbot, 1999).
importance of research
Importance of Research
  • Scientific study of faith and identity is necessary for the design, implementation, and evaluation of specific efforts for change and growth among college students.
  • As an issue of integrity and responsible stewardship, Christians in positions of leadership should be concerned with efforts to promote movement towards greater spiritual and identity maturity (Butman, 1990).
current study
Current Study
  • The intimate and intricate faith-identity linkage makes intuitive psychological and theological sense, however, there is limited research examining this relationship (Bussema, 1999).
  • The current study was designed to better understand the relationship between faith and identity among college students.
identity
Domains of Life

Politics

Religion

Philosophy

Occupation

Morality

Sexuality

Relationships

Purpose

Dimensions

Exploration

Commitment

Identity
identity10
Identity
  • The extent of an individual’s exploration of, and commitment to, particular beliefs, roles, and ideologies within the domains of politics, religion, philosophy, occupation, morality, sexuality, relationships, and purpose.
faith
Faith Attitudes

Importance of faith

Strength of belief

Life application of faith

Understanding of calling

Faith Behaviors

Public religious activity

Private religious activity

Experience of spiritual feelings.

Faith
methods
Methods
  • Participants: 189 first-year students.
  • Measures
    • two measures of identity
    • two measures of faith
measures
Measures
  • Identity
  • Faith

Objective Measure of Ego-Identity Status

Self-Perceptions of Identity Strength Survey

Faith Attitudes Survey

Faith Behavior Survey

self perceptions of identity strength survey
Self-Perceptions of Identity Strength Survey
  • Overall identity scores assigned based on contemplation of, and confidence in: career, religion, morality, politics, sexuality, relationships, and purpose.
  • Sample items
    • I am confident in knowing what I should major in at Pepperdine.
    • My parents have taught me to have a good sense of right and wrong
    • I have thought a lot about my political beliefs.
    • I am not completely comfortable with my sexuality.
    • I have a well-developed understanding of what my gifts and talents are.
self perceived identity strength and faith
Self-Perceived Identity Strength and Faith

Identity

Strength

Faith

Attitudes

and

Behaviors

comparison between identity status and faith
Comparison Between Identity Status and Faith
  • For faith attitudes:
    • Diffusion < Foreclosure, Moratorium, Achievement
  • For faith behaviors:
    • Diffusion < Moratorium, Achievement
comparison between identity status and faith22
Comparison Between Identity Status and Faith
  • For faith attitudes and behaviors:
    • Achievement = Moratorium, Foreclosure
comparison between identity status scores and faith
Comparison Between Identity Status Scores and Faith

Diffusion

Moratorium

Faith

Attitudes

and

Behavior

comparison between identity status scores and faith24
Comparison Between Identity Status Scores and Faith

Commitment

to

Ideologies

Faith

Attitudes

and

Behavior

identity status scores and faith
Identity Status Scores and Faith

Faith

Attitudes

&

Behaviors

Foreclosure

&

Achievement

Scores

summary of findings
Summary of Findings
  • Self-Perceptions of Identity Strength Survey
    • High identity is related to high faith
  • Objective Measure of Ego-Identity Status
    • Low identity (diffusion status) is related to low faith
    • Lack of ideological commitments (diffusion and moratorium scores) is related to low faith
    • High identity (achievement status) is unrelated to faith
    • Presence of ideological commitments (foreclosure and achievement scores) is unrelated to faith
necessary but not sufficient theory
Necessary-but-not-sufficient Theory
  • Not having a strong sense of identity is an impediment to faith formation.
  • Having a strong sense of identity does not impact faith in either direction.
  • Summary: Individuals must be at a mature stage of identity development in order to develop mature faith, but identity development itself is not the cause of higher levels of faith maturity.
implications
Implications
  • In order to make it possible for students to mature in their faith, students must be encouraged to move beyond the immature stages of identity.
  • In order to encourage a growth in faith attitudes and behaviors, one must move beyond a focus on identity and find practical ways of fostering spiritual development directly.
encouraging a shift away from immature identity parks 2000
Encouraging a Shift away from Immature Identity (Parks, 2000)
  • Network of belonging
  • Support and challenge in successes and failures
  • Atmosphere of inquiry
  • Genuine dialogue, contemplation, awareness, and critical thought
  • Images of truth, transformation and interrelatedness
  • Encouragement to aspire to new possibilities.
ways faculty and staff can encourage faith maturity love talbot 1999
Ways Faculty and Staff can Encourage Faith Maturity (Love & Talbot, 1999)
  • Recognize the importance of faith
  • Gain understanding of personal spiritual development
  • Open attitude towards issues of faith among students
  • Education and training regarding faith development
  • Recognition for the spiritual underpinnings of emotional crises
final thought
Final Thought
  • The college environment and those interacting with students will have the most effective impact on students’ development of mature identity and faith when practical methods are implemented for the encouragement of a shift away from immature identity and a shift toward mature faith.