Role of Religiosity in the Lives of the Low-Income Population: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. Data, Methods, and Measures

07/10/2009

The main outcome areas explored in this body of research include disciplinary attitudes and practices, parenting style (mix of warmth and demandingness), parental involvement (time spent interacting in one-on-one activities, family meals, youth activities), and parental coping (with stress related to child rearing). A substantial number of quantitative studies address these outcome areas, with the exception of coping, which has mainly been the subject of qualitative inquiry.

The most prevalent measures of religiosity used in the quantitative research include measures of religious attendance and affiliation. Other frequently used measures include theological conservatism (measured by Bible literalism or fundamentalist theological views) and the importance of religion. Most studies rely on single-item measures, although a small number use multi-item scales (e.g., Gunnoe, Hetherington, & Reiss, 1999).

The quantitative studies use a mix of cross-sectional and longitudinal data, and many use multivariate regression techniques to control for relevant background factors. Relatively little quantitative research has been conducted to establish the mediating pathways between religiosity and parenting outcomes (with a few exceptions noted subsequently). Given these methodological limitations, scholars are working to move beyond the correlation phase to establish causal links between religiosity and parenting.

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