Crafting Mosaics: Person-Centered Religious Influence and Selection in Adolescent Friendships


Adams, Jimi; Schaefer, David R.; & Ettekal, Andrea Vest (2020). Crafting Mosaics: Person-Centered Religious Influence and Selection in Adolescent Friendships. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.


This research addresses the intersection of two key domains of adolescents’ lives: religion and peer networks. Religion scholars argue that religion is multi-faceted and better understood by focusing on combinations of indicators (i.e., mosaics), versus a variable-centered approach. We adopt this framework and investigate the interplay between religion and peer networks, both in how religious mosaics are shaped by friends and how religious profiles affect friend selection dynamics. With data from two schools in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, we estimate religious mosaics using latent class analysis (LCA) to identify profiles consisting of combinations of commonly available survey-based measures of religious attitudes, behaviors, and identities. Finding evidence of theoretically expected profiles, we then use stochastic actor–based models (SABMs) to investigate network dynamics for these LCA-based religious profiles. We demonstrate how the profile data can be integrated within the SABM framework to evaluate processes of friend selection and influence. Results show evidence of adolescents influencing one another's religious mosaics, but not selecting friends on that basis.




Reference Type

Journal Article

Journal Title

Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion


Adams, Jimi
Schaefer, David R.
Ettekal, Andrea Vest

Year Published




Reference ID