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Families and FaithHow Religion is Passed Down across Generations$
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Vern L. Bengtson

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199948659

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199948659.001.0001

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Has Family Influence Declined? 1

Has Family Influence Declined? 1

(p.54) Chapter 3 Has Family Influence Declined?1
Families and Faith

Vern L. Bengtson

Norella M. Putney

Susan C. Harris

Oxford University Press

Many people would probably assume that the religious influence of parents on children has weakened over the past four decades. This study examined data from parents and young adult children over a thirty-five-year-span to see if parental influences on religion have diminished over time. It looked at five aspects of religion: affiliation, participation, intensity, Biblical beliefs, and civic religiosity. A majority of young adult respondents were following their parents’ religious tradition, and there was also significant similarity on the practice and belief items. There were, to be sure, marked differences across religious traditions in intergenerational continuity, with Evangelicals, Mormons and Jews showing higher transmission than mainline Protestants and Catholics. Most surprising was the finding that, the degree of parental influence has not declined over these thirty-five years. Despite some monumental social and cultural changes in recent decades that have led many politicians and pundits to predict an erosion of r family influences in society, this study found considerable religious continuity between the parents and young adult children.

Keywords:   BB cultural changes, religion, religious influence

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