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An Interactive Model of Religiosity Inheritance: The Importance of Family Context

Scott M. Myers
American Sociological Review
Vol. 61, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 858-866
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2096457
Page Count: 9
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An Interactive Model of Religiosity Inheritance: The Importance of Family Context
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Abstract

I use an intergenerational data set that is uniquely suited to estimating the magnitude of religiosity inheritance. Interviews with 471 parents in 1980 and their adult offspring in 1992 address three related issues: (1) What are the effects of childhood, parental, and family influences on the religiosity of adult offspring? (2) What factors condition the ability of parents to transmit their religiosity? (3) How do the recent experiences of adult offspring modify earlier family influences on religiosity? The results suggest that three sets of variables aid the transmission of religiosity--parental religiosity, quality of the family relationship, and traditional family structure. One's religiosity is determined largely by the religiosity of one's parents. Parent's marital happiness, parent-child support, moderate strictness, and a working husband/nonworking wife increase the ability of parents to transmit their religious beliefs and practices. Although the recent experiences of adult offspring affect their religiosity, these experiences do not reduce the influence of parents and family context.

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