The role of religious beliefs and practices on emerging adults' perceived competencies, perceived importance ratings, and global self-worth


emerging adulthood, religiosity, self-perceptions


Although religious participation declines during emerging adulthood (18 years through middle 20s), most emerging adults still claim that their religious beliefs are important to them. However, little research has been conducted to examine the role that religious beliefs and practices may play in the development of self-perceptions during emerging adulthood. This study investigated: (1) the extent to which perceived competence and importance ratings of competence varied as a function of religious beliefs and practices as well as gender; and (2) the relationship between self-discrepancies in domains of importance and global self-worth as a function of the two religious factors and gender. Findings from responses of 232 university students revealed that perceived competence, perceived importance ratings, and the effect of success or failure in domains of importance on self-worth all differed based upon both religious factors and one's gender. The results underscore the importance that religiosity plays in the development of self-processes, especially for emerging-adult women.

Original Publication Citation

Barry, C. M. & Nelson, L. J. (2008). The role of religious beliefs and practiceson emerging adults’ perceived competencies, perceived importance ratings, and global self-worth. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 32, 509-521.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



International Journal of Behavioral Development




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor