The present paper highlights the link between religious identity formation and interpersonal relationships, which seems to be a crucial element in order to understand the variety of ways of endorsing religiosity. In fact, social psychology recently devoted more and more attention to the emotional and relational aspects of everyone’s life experience which can affect the concept of oneself as a religious person. Here we consider in particular (1) the distinction between an "introjected" and an "identified" religious identity and (2) the role of interpersonal relationships, in particular with the family and the peer group, in contributing to the development of religious identity. These lines of investigation, increasingly popular in social psychology during the last decade, have been recently investigated also with Italian youths: three studies are reviewed that have analyzed the definition of religious identity, the influence of family and group relationships and the consequences of different ways of endorsing religion on intergroup relationships. In conclusion, we emphasize the importance of the emotional and relational aspects in the formation of religious identity .
Keywords: Religious identity, interpersonal relationships, family, youth