Religious Struggle reflects the extent to which the student feels unsettled about religious matters, disagrees with family about religious matters, feels distant from God, has questioned her/his religious beliefs, or feels disillusioned with his/her religious upbringing.
Students’ overall level of Religious Struggle increases during the college years. Greater-than-average increases tend to occur among students who attend colleges where a high proportion of peers are experiencing Religious Struggle when they start college. Increased levels of Religious Struggle are also associated with engaging in frequent self-reflection, alcohol consumption, frequent television viewing, having a serious illness or injury, or experiencing the death of a close friend of family member.
Growth in Religious Struggle shows a positive effect on students’ commitment to promoting racial understanding, but negative effects on the students’ leadership skills, sense of psychological well-being, and satisfaction with college.