Immigrant Religious Identity Development

By: Drexler Ortiz   Catherine Costigan  

Religious identity development of immigrants is not well understood. According to identity formation theory, religious identity is formed through the exploration of and commitment to different religious beliefs and practices. A small body of literature on non-immigrants suggests that there are several types or variations of religious identities, such that people can be grouped into five clusters of religious identities that differ in the strength of exploration and commitment to different religious beliefs, practices, and ideologies. Identity formation in general is a normative part of adolescent development, but religious identity formation in particular may be more relevant later in development during emerging adulthood. Importantly, immigration may change how, when, and what types of religious identities develop because immigrants must renegotiate and reform their religious identity when societal norms for religiosity differ substantially between the sending and receiving cultures (e.g., Philippines to Canada). The current paper uses cluster analysis and prediction analysis to examine the types of religious identities that emerge from a sample of 210 Christian-affiliated Filipina/o/x immigrants to Canada, and observes the developmental trajectory of religious identity from age 14 to 25. The paper also takes into account whether religious identity types differ by acculturation level, gender, and other key demographic variables. The study provides insight to the different ways Filipino immigrant youth make meaning of religion post-migration. The findings also provide a basis for understanding differences in religious identities within immigrant families, particularly among parents and children.

Religious Identity, Religious Diversity, Ethnic Identity, Identity Development, Immigrant Religiosity
Religious Commonalities and Differences
Poster/Exhibit Session

Drexler Ortiz

Graduate Student, Psychology, University of Victoria, Canada

I am currently a graduate student in clinical psychology at the University of Victoria. My research interests focus broadly on immigrant families and their relationship with religion post-migration. More specifically, I am interested in understanding how families navigate religious differences between parents and children. Currently my Master's thesis examines the religious identity development of Filipina/o/x immigrants to Canada. I am also involved in projects outside of psychology and religion, such that I am a research assistant on a project that examines the impact of police officer integration onto community treatment teams, as well as an internship with British Columbia's Ministry of Child and Family Development to understand how to make cross-cultural adoptions more culturally safe. 

Dr. Catherine Costigan

Professor, University of Victoria, Canada