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Linked Lives, Faith, and Behavior: Intergenerational Religious Influence on Adolescent Delinquency

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Research on religion and delinquency has generally concluded that only minor forms of delinquency are affected by religious commitments. However, parents have not often been the focus of religion and delinquency research. This study explores the influence of parental religious identity and behavior on the serious delinquency of adolescent children. This analysis tested an intergenerational model of religious influence on delinquent behavior. Results suggest parental religious devotion protects girls considerably better than boys. In fact, it may amplify delinquency among boys, at least when controlling for other important influences such as autonomy and family satisfaction. Parents' conservative Protestant affiliation displays consistent negative direct effects on delinquency, but little indirect influence. This study reinforces the importance of considering linked lives in the development of youth, as well as the need to assess both direct and indirect religious influences.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: 2003-06-01

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