Religious Engagement

Religious Engagement, an “external” measure which represents the behavioral counterpart to Religious Commitment, includes behaviors such as attending religious services, praying, religious singing/chanting, and reading sacred texts.

Attendance at religious services shows a steep decline during college, while other forms of engagement show similar but smaller declines. More than a third of the students (39%) attend services less frequently in college than they did in high school, compared to only 7 percent who increase their frequency of attendance after entering college. These declines in Religious Engagement can be attenuated somewhat if students join a campus religious organization, take religious studies classes, go on a religious mission trip, engage in self-reflection or meditation, or discuss religion with peers, professors, or staff.

Declining Religious Engagement during college is associated with a raising of students’ degree aspirations, greater satisfaction with college, and a strengthened commitment to promoting racial understanding.