Religious Trauma: A Phenomenological Inquiry into Impacts on Millennials


Religion and spirituality have been better understood as independent entities or as protective factors, creating support for individuals. However, a paucity of research exists on the impacts of growing up religious and the trauma that can result from exposure to religious tenets. Through phenomenological inquiry into millennial experiences growing up in the evangelical church, the phenomena of religious trauma is examined through the lens of stories. Stories of trauma resulting from religious upbringing have been prolific in mainstream literature and social media, yet little attention has been garnered by the topic within the empirical research community. A further purpose of this study is to generate and operationalize variables for future research and create groundwork for quantitative analysis. Coded qualitative data gathered in eight interviews from participants in a national sample demonstrate strong themes independent of demographics or geographic area. International participant acts as a control and further strengthens analysis of coded qualitative data. Understanding of the phenomenon benefits individuals, clergy, and religious institutions who may desire knowledge of poor outcomes.


Sarah Farrell
Student, PhD, Our Lady of the Lake University, United States


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Religious Community and Socialization


Religious Trauma, Religiosity, Trauma, Phenomenological, Qualitative Research

Digital Media

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