ERIC Number: ED468872
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Sep
Reference Count: N/A
Religious Involvement and Children's Well-Being: What Research Tells Us (And What It Doesn't). Child Trends Research Brief.
Bridges, Lisa J.; Moore, Kristin Anderson
Noting national survey data from the past three decades showing consistently that more than 60 percent of American high school seniors agree that religion is important to them, and in light of increased interest in faith-based initiatives, this research brief summarizes findings from recent studies that examine linkages between adolescents beliefs and their practice of religion, or religiosity. Religiosity includes attending religious services, being involved in activities sponsored by faith-based organizations, praying, and ascribing values to one religious beliefs. The brief also examines parents religious practices and beliefs in relation to their adolescents well-being. Although religiosity is an under-researched area and existing studies have limitations, the overall findings suggest moderate to weak associations between religiosity and adolescent outcomes. High religiosity levels are linked with low levels of delinquency. There is strong, consistent evidence linking religious involvement and low teen drug and alcohol use. Numerous studies indicate that religious involvement may help to steer teens away from early sexual activity. Findings about contraception and disease-prevention in relation to teens religious beliefs and behavior have been less consistent. The constraining effects of religiosity on male adolescent sexual behavior are similar to those for females. There is a consistent report of a positive association between religiosity and prosocial and altruistic attitudes and behaviors. Little research exists on the relationship between adolescent religious involvement and personality and mental health. There are weak to moderate associations between parents religiosity and positive child outcomes, particularly for older children and adolescents. Implications for policy and practice are discussed. (Contains 34 endnotes.) (KB)
Descriptors: Adolescent Attitudes, Adolescent Behavior, Adolescents, Children, Delinquency, Mental Health, Moral Development, Moral Values, Parent Attitudes, Personality, Prosocial Behavior, Public Policy, Religious Factors, Religious Organizations, Research Problems, Secondary Education, Sexuality, Well Being
Child Trends, Inc., 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-362-5580; Fax: 202-362-5533; Web site: http://www.childtrends.org. For full text: http://www.childtrends.org/PDF/ReligiosityRB.pdf.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Child Health and Human Development (NIH), Bethesda, MD.; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL.; David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Altos, CA.; William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Palo Alto, CA.; Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.; John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami, FL.
Authoring Institution: Child Trends, Inc., Washington, DC.