School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Christopher Wheelus


parent modeling, parent-child attachment, parental modeling, sexuality conflicts within the church


Counseling | Psychology


The present qualitative study used the transcendental phenomenological model. It investigated the three parenting factors of modeling, style, and attachment and their impact on emerging adult decisions to leave the Christian faith of their upbringing. Six participants, ages 21-25, male and female, white or Hispanic college students yielded information demonstrating that the parenting factors mutually interacted with one another. If the parent or parents had a positive impact in the modeling factor, the same was true for attachment and style. A fourth focal point was whether the emerging young adult would seek out a community of faith of his or her own choosing. The results were mixed, with the unexpected result of the male student who espoused atheism, stating that he would seek to get involved with volunteerism—even though it would potentially be church-sponsored. Two other unexpected results were that two of the female participants revealed their bisexuality and, in whole or in part, blamed the church’s non-acceptance as their reason for apostasy. One of them had equal problems with disappointment within the institution.