Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Counseling and Psychological Services
Gregory Brack - Chair
Asa Hilliard III
Kenneth B. Matheny
When describing faith development, established models often fail to incorporate the effects of an individual’s sociocultural context and control for additional dimensions of their identity such as ethnicity, gender and religious denomination (Mattis, 2001; Myers, 1991; Willis, 2005). This study involved 18 African American women and men between the ages of twenty and seventy-seven who identified as Baptist Church goers within the Southeastern region of the United States. A mixed methods design informed by interpretive and emerging social network paradigms was used (Hanson, 2005; LeCompte & Schensul, 1999). There were two phases of this study. Within phase one, twelve participants completed one semi-structured interview and the Optimal Theory and Identity Development-Revised (OTAID-R) instrument (Haggins, 1996) which was designed to evaluate identity development along multiple dimensions, including spirituality. Within phase two, six participants took part in a follow-up focus group to validate the emergent themes. Grounded theory was used to analyze the data (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). A circular socioculturally informed model of faith development was devised. The current model was most congruent with African centered models of faith development and revealed non-linear process of faith development. The OTAID-R survey was not significantly correlated with the age of the participants. Implications for research and practice include the importance of considering sociocultual context and experience when conceptualizing developmental processes within a culturally informed framework.
Willis, Lynyetta Gittens, "African American Baptist Church Community: Influence of SocioCultural Factors on Faith Development." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2007.