Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Shon, Herbert. PHD, MSW


This study will examine how religion impacts adolescents in a group home setting, and how they perceive its importance in their lives. The data was gathered using a qualitative method, and included interviews with a sample of staff members (all adults) who work with adolescents in a group home setting.The helping professionals were interviewed and asked 15 questions pertaining to their knowledge regarding the ways in which their subject residents embraced religion and spirituality. This included their observations as to frequency of prayer or meditation, reading or studying of sacred texts, meetings such as prayer meetings or other ritual activities, and a number of other questions regarding the ways in which religion and spirituality are manifested among residents in a group home setting.

The study also inquired of the helping professionals whether adolescent residents had ever expressed to them a belief in God or a higher power, and if they had, their reflections and feelings verbally expressed. This research focuses on the impact of religion on the outlook of adolescent group home residents, including what it means to them and whether or not it is important, and if so to what degree. Helping professionals were interviewed rather than the residents themselves to avoid any possible conflicts or legalities in questioning subjects under the age of 18 years old. The responses to the questions by the staff members will help to provide answers as to how adolescents in a group of setting feel about religion and spirituality.

This research also explores whether adolescents who embrace religion or spirituality display positive or negative behaviors or whether there is any change at all in their perceptions and reactions to external circumstances surrounding them. Further research needs to be conducted in other group homes with either higher or lower functioning surroundings to see if religion is important to other adolescents, or have no effect in the way they live or think.