Review of Religious Research

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 435–453 | Cite as

Internal Diversity Among “Spiritual But Not Religious” Adolescents in the United States: A Person-Centered Examination Using Latent Class Analysis

  • Yunping TongEmail author
  • Fenggang Yang
Original Paper


Americans who self-identify as spiritual but not religious (SBNR) have increased in recent years. Existing studies of American religion often assume the SBNR as a homogeneous group. Recently some scholars suggest they are not all the same. Instead, SBNR people may differ in the pattern of religious practice, attitude, and affection. This study examines the heterogeneity of the SBNR using a person-centered approach of latent class analysis. We first identified four distinct types of SBNR adolescents in the Wave 2 data of the National Survey of Youth and Religion. Then, we explored how subgroups changed their religious identity over time by tracking them in Wave 3 data.


Spiritual but not religious Latent class analysis Adolescents 



The authors thank Dan Olson, Dan Winchester, and Tyler Anderson at Purdue University for their helpful comments as well as the anonymous reviews for their valuable suggestions for the study.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA

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