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Linda Waite

Intergenerational Religious Dynamics and Adolescent Delinquency

Publication Abstract

Pearce, Lisa D., and D.L. Haynie. 2004. "Intergenerational Religious Dynamics and Adolescent Delinquency." Social Forces, 82(4): 1553-1572.

Integrating theories about religious influence, religious homogamy, and delinquency, this study examines religion's potential for both reducing and facilitating adolescent delinquency. Analyses of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health show that the more religious mothers and their adolescent children are, the less often the children tire delinquent; however, the effect of one's religiosity depends on the other. When either a mother or child is very religious and the other is not, the child's delinquency increases. Thus, religion can be cohesive when shared among family members, but when unshared, higher adolescent delinquency results. These findings shed light on how family religious dynamics shape well-being and more generally emphasize that the influence of religiosity depends on the social context in which it is experienced.

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