Media & Communication Department

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Emily Stolarick
Religion, Culture and Morality: The Formation of Adolescent Identities

Communication scholars Elihu Katz and Paul Lazarsfeld suggest that an individual's social attachments and the character of the opinions and activities that he shares with them will influence his response to the media (Katz and Lazarsfeld, p.25). How then, do these attachments and opinions affect response to other institutions, particularly those with religious affiliation?

Through the use of focus groups and scholarly work, I examined the way in which religion informs the identity of college students. This research is particularly concerned with the way in which American youth relate religion and morality. This includes considering the ways in which their religious identity/identities correspond with those around them who may not be a part of the same tradition. In considering both the way in which culture and personal identification are tied to religion, I considered the following question: "Does one need to be religious in order to be good?"