The National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR), which began in 2002 with a nationally-representative sample of youth ages 13 to 17, has been completed, and four seminal books have been written to describe the major findings within its four waves of data collection. Back-Pocket God, by Melinda Denton and Richard Flory, is the fourth book in this series and takes on the task of describing the religious and spiritual lives of the original respondents, now 23–28 years old. To this end, the book is largely descriptive, though the NSYR has so many measures of religion and spirituality—both from surveys and interviews—that the content is engaging from start to finish.
Review of Back‑Pocket God: Religion and Spirituality in the Lives of Emerging Adults by Melinda L. Denton and Richard Flory
Review of The Twenty-something Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults by Tim Clydesdale and Kathleen Garces-Foley
The last two decades have seen a proliferation of research on the transition to adulthood and the developmental phase of “emerging adulthood” – the time between adolescence and adulthood characterized by instability, self-focus, identity explorations, and optimism for the future. The intersection between these literatures and the growing body of work on young adult religion is exactly where readers of The Twenty-something Soul: Understanding the Religious and Secular Lives of American Young Adults (2019) will find themselves.