Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

O. Jane Thayer

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

John V. G. Matthews

Abstract

Problem

A considerable gap in knowledge exists regarding religious commitment among young people in Mexican Christian colleges, where many institutional resources are invested to foster such commitment. This study attempted to identify the extent to which Christian commitments of undergraduate students in a Mexican Christian university are related to their involvement in institutional activities, influential agents, and selected demographic variables (gender, grade level, place of residence, and field of study).

Method

A descriptive cross-sectional and correlational design was conducted using survey research methodology with a stratified sample of 332 undergraduate students enrolled during the fall term of the 2002-2003 college year at Montemorelos University, a conservative Christian university sponsored by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and located in Northeastern Mexico. The survey instrument, the Christian Life Commitment, was divided by principal component analysis into two factors named: Christian Commitment Related to Personal Spirituality Scale and Christian Commitment Related to Church Mission Scale.

Results

Nearly 80% of the undergraduate students see themselves as making a great effort, even to the point of sacrifice, to keep their Christian commitments. While 87% of students reported being committed to Christian personal spirituality, 64% of them reported being committed to church mission. Both commitment to personal spirituality and commitment to church mission were moderately and positively associated with student involvement in institutional activities. Involvement in two activities, religious and evangelistic activities, was much more associated with commitment to church mission than to personal spirituality. All three sets of influential agents─institutional, instructional, and relational─had a moderate positive association with commitment both to personal spirituality and to church mission. Demographic variables indicated that students enrolled in arts and humanities are more likely to have higher Christian commitments than students in engineering, technology, management, and accounting. Students living in off-campus residences were more likely to have a higher commitment to church mission than were students living in residence halls. No differences in Christian commitment were found for gender or grade level.

Conclusions

Students enrolled in a conservative Mexican Christian university are likely to report high Christian commitment. Throughout the college years, the Christian commitment of these students can be expected to keep stable and to be without significant differences between males and females. Students are likely to be positively influenced in their Christian commitments by parents and friends and by caring relationships with instructional agents. The findings of this study suggest that Christian colleges in Mexico could strengthen the Christian commitment of their students by encouraging their involvement in religious or evangelistic activities and by investigating and responding to why students in some fields of study have lower commitment than others and why students living off campus are more committed to church mission than are students living on campus.

Subject Area

College students--Mexico--Religious life, College students--Mexico--Conduct of life.

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