The Impact of Higher Education on College Students' Religiosity

Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Ringenberg


Arts and Sciences


Social Work Department

ORCID Identifier(s)


Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 4-23-2016


The purpose of this research was to examine how the secularization of higher education, as well as social aspects offered on a college campus, could have been associated with a decrease in religious practices and beliefs (i.e. church attendance or engaging in prayer) of undergraduate students at a college or university; specifically, data showing a lowering of attendance rates in church or an increase in risky social behaviors (i.e high alcohol consumption, sexual promiscuity, etc.) on or around the college campus. This study used theories relating to people in their systems and environments. One of these theories included person-in-environment, which allowed for assessing the religious, social, and communal environment of the sampled persons (where the environment was the university and the person would be the undergraduate student). The results of this study better informed us on the impact of higher education on what can be such an important aspect of students’ lives, religious practices. This study tracked change over time between freshman to seniors in college, because religiosity has been associated with long-term lifestyle choices and safety. The results showed how exposure to secular theorists in higher education, and access to risky social opportunities, may be in contrast to religious practices and beliefs of undergraduate students, even at a private, Christian institution.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Josie Scott, Ellie Propper, and Katelyn Caragher are junior social work majors at Valparaiso University. They are interested in the impact of the college experience on a students' religious beliefs and behaviors throughout his or her college career.

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