Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Qualitative Study Exploring Childhood Experiences Contributing to Christian Commitment in Young Adulthood
by Davis, Stacey Jeanne, Ph.D., Biola University, 2019, 430; 22592254
Abstract (Summary)

Currently, research has been conducted, both formally and informally, seeking to understand how childhood experiences influence adult spirituality. In particular, research exploring the influence family or Christian education in childhood (birth to 13) has on faith commitment in emerging adults has intrigued many researchers and church practitioners. This study seeks to explore those childhood experiences, as well as others, to understand which experiences contribute to Christian commitment in young adulthood.

Data for this research endeavor was collected in the fall of 2018 using a qualitative research design. In-depth interviews and grounded theory were utilized as a parts of the research plan. The sample included young adults between the ages of 22 and 30, residing in Southern California, who attended evangelical Protestant church services at least once a month, and who self-identified as a committed Christian.

A number of novel findings were discovered through the research process and are discussed. Additionally, findings are presented that uphold previous research related to childhood experiences that influence adult spirituality. Results from this study created seven themes revealing the childhood experiences that contribute to Christian commitment in young adulthood. These seven themes include: personal engagement in Christianity, loving actions from Christians, negative experiences contributed to Christian commitment in young adulthood, painful childhood memories, commitment was perceived as positive, a close relationship with a committed Christian, attending church was a positive experience, and family engaged in Christian activities together. Additionally, implications for Church ministry practice, family members, and Christian schools are also explored in light of the findings presented.

Overall, results from this study revealed that understanding how childhood experiences influence young adult spirituality may provide affirmation for families, churches, and Christian schools. This study aimed to discover the types of childhood experiences and how they influence young adult spiritualty. Chapter One addressed the importance of this study, Chapter Two offers an overview of the previous research literature on this topic, Chapter Three addresses a Christian integration of the theology of childhood and the learning theories presented in Chapter Two, Chapter Four outlines the research design, and key findings and conclusions are offered in Chapters Five and Six.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Lawson, Kevin
Commitee: Carr, Jane, Finley, Thomas
School: Biola University
Department: Talbot School of Theolgy
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Religious education
Keywords: Children's spirituality, Christian commitment, Christian ministry, Educational ministries
Publication Number: 22592254
ISBN: 9781085618748
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