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Religious Identity Formation Among Bangladeshi American Muslim Adolescents

NCJ Number
Journal of Adolescent Research Volume: 23 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2008 Pages: 383-410
Sadia R. Chaudhury; Lisa Miller
Date Published
28 pages
This study examined the process of religious identity formation among second-generation Bangladeshi-American Muslim adolescents.
Findings suggest the presence of two distinct groups of adolescents with respect to religious identity formation: internal seekers, those who seek answers about religion within their faith, and external seekers, those who look outside of Islam, explore other faiths, or abandon religion altogether. Thematic analysis uncovered several factors that facilitate the formation of religious identity in this population and sought to determine how these adolescents integrated Islamic and Western ideologies while establishing their identity. Contributing factors include: open communication with family and loved ones, a support network of peers, safe havens where the person feels connected to others, and prayer. Based on the findings, a preliminary understanding of religious identity formation in Bangladeshi-American Muslim adolescents was presented and discussed in detail, adding to the paucity of research conducted on the lived experiences of Muslim-Americans. Data were collected as part of a larger 6-year study on spiritual and religious development in adolescents, and focused exclusively on the stated subgroup. Sixteen participants (6 males and 10 females) between the ages of 16 and 20 years of age were selected from a group of 27 potential participants who identified themselves as meeting the desired study criteria. All participants completed semistructured interviews; qualitative data was analyzed using a Grounded Theory approach. Table, appendix, references


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