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Marital Quality and Parent-Adolescent Relationships: Effects on Adolescent Religiousity and Religious Practice

Publication Date
Dec 14, 2008

This report focuses on family processes and adolescent religious attendance and personal religiosity among youth who were raised primarily in married-parent families. The study used data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1997 cohort (NLSY97). Sample includes only youth living in married-parent families at the time of the first wave of data collection. Predictors include family processes (parenting style, closeness, and parent/child closeness); marital/family structure (divorce and length of marriage); family characteristics (e.g., income, employment, parental education, mother's age at first birth, and number of siblings); adolescent characteristics (e.g., age, gender, race/ethnicity, disability, lying, or cheating); and environmental characteristics (e.g., region, urbanicity, and physical environment risk). We find that the closeness and quality of the marital relationship and relationship between adolescent and parents significantly contributes to the strength of adolescent religious conviction and practice. Additional findings indicate that when these adolescents were age 16, religious attendance was dramatically influenced by race, region, biological versus stepfamily status, and siblings and peers.