Journal of Adolescence
The role of religion in identity development has, for many years, been a relatively neglected topic In psychology. To demonstrate the importance of religion to the formation of identity, this paper presents evidence connecting community service and religiousness in American youth. Data are reviewed that show youth are heavily involved in volunteer service; many youth view religion as important and those who do so are more likely to do service than youth who do not believe that religion Is important in their lives; involvement in church-sponsored service makes it more likely that youth will adopt the religious rationale in which service is couched; and youth who do church-sponsored service are neither service "nerds" nor single-Issue tunnel-visioned adolescents. These data from nationally representative samples strengthen the case that the many contemporary youth who take religion seriously are vibrantly engaged in their schooling, in the betterment of communities, and the development of identities which presage healthy lives.
Youniss, James; McLellan, Jefrey A.; and Yates, Miranda, "Religion, community service, and identity in American youth" (1999). Special Topics, General. 110.