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Catholic Guilt among U.S. Teenagers: A Research Note
Stephen Vaisey and Christian Smith
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 49, No. 4 (Jun., 2008), pp. 415-426
Published by: Religious Research Association, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20447515
Page Count: 12
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"Catholic guilt" is an idea deeply embedded in U.S. popular religious culture. Few empirical studies, however, have investigated the actual extent of Catholic guilt among adherents of Catholicism. The findings of the little relevant research that exists are also inconclusive and difficult to generalize. This study uses data from the National Study of Youth and Religion to investigate the extent of possible Catholic guilt among U.S. adolescents ages 13 to 17, testing 15 distinct hypotheses. Findings reveal no evidence of Catholic guilt in this population with one exception--compared to other religious traditions, Catholicism appears to both cause and relieve less guilt among U.S. teenagers. There is no evidence, however, that Catholics feel more guilty than other teens, that more observant Catholics feel more guilty than less observant ones, nor that guilt-inducing behaviors affect Catholics more strongly than other teens.
Review of Religious Research © 2008 Religious Research Association, Inc.