Adolescent Christian Formation and Mother Nurturance and Involvement: A Mixed Methods Study
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This research study was an examination of the relationship between mother nurturance and involvement and the Christian formation of adolescents. Mother involvement was measured according to the adolescent's perception in twenty domains of motherhood. Eight domains of Christian formation were evaluated using the Spiritual Formation Inventory (SFI) developed by Brad Waggoner. The literature review includes a biblical theological foundation for motherhood, mother nurturance and involvement literature, and an examination of adolescence. The chasm between the sociological and biblical theological fields of research was bridged through the presentation of mutual perspectives on adolescent development. The research produced several important results. First, the results suggest that mother nurturance was significantly correlated with all SFI domains/subscales except with the Building Relationship domain and the overall SFI score. Second, the results suggest that higher perceived mother involvement could lead to significant increases in SFI subscales and overall SFI scores. Third, the results suggest that desired mother involvement was not significantly related with SFI subscales/domains and the overall SFI. Fourth, the results imply that males have, on average, higher overall SFI scores than females. Fifth, with age, gradual decreases in the Seeking God, Building Relationship, and Doctrine domains/subscales scores were observed as age increases. Similar observations were found for the overall SFI score. This appears to consistently be a direct consequence of age. The effect of type of adolescence was also observed to be significant for such domains (that is, early adolescents had higher scores in these domains than late adolescents). Finally, the qualitative interviews suggested five common themes from the respondents' answers: (1) "She was there for me when I needed her," (2) "She helped shape my character," (3) "She taught me how to live," (4) "She helped shape my faith," and (5) "She was supportive of me." Though answers varied, the three central themes were presence, support, and teaching.