This study investigated how young adults communicate their decision to religiously disaffiliate to their parents. Both the context in which the religious disaffiliation conversation took place and the communicative behaviors used during the religious disaffiliation conversation were studied. Research questions and hypotheses were guided by Family Communication Patterns Theory and Face Negotiation Theory. A partially mixed sequential quantitative dominate status design was employed to answer the research questions and hypotheses. Interviews were conducted with 10 young adults who had either disaffiliated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or the Watch Tower Society. During the interviews, the survey instrument was refined; ultimately, it was completed by 298 religiously disaffiliated young adults. For the religious disaffiliation conversation’s context, results indicate that disaffiliated Jehovah’s Witnesses had higher conformity orientations than disaffiliated Latter-day Saints. Additionally, disaffiliated Jehovah’s Witnesses experienced more stress than disaffiliated Latter-day Saints. Planning the conversation in advance did lead to the disaffiliation conversation being less stressful for young adults. Furthermore, the analysis found that having three to five conversations reduced stress significantly more than having one or two conversations. For the communicative behaviors during the religious disaffiliation conversation, few differences were found in regard to prevalence of the facework behaviors between the two groups. Of the 14 facework behaviors, four were used more often by disaffiliated JW than disaffiliated LDS—abuse, passive aggressive, pretend, and defend self. In terms of effectiveness, the top five facework behaviors were talk about the problem, consider the other, have a private discussion, remain calm, and defend self. Overall, this study begins the conversation on how religious disaffiliation occurs between young adults and their parents and extends Family Communication Patterns Theory and Face Negotiation Theory to a new context.
- Communicating religious disaffiliation: a study of the context, family conversations, and face negotiation among young adults
- Comparative religion
- Individual & Family Studies
- Face Negotiation
- Family Communication Patterns
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- Latter-day Saints
- Ex-church members--Language.
- Ex-church members
- Communication in families--Psychological aspects.
- Communication in families
- Language and emotions--Psychological aspects.
- Language and emotions