Adolescents who are less religious than their parents are at risk for externalizing and internalizing symptoms: The mediating role of parent-adolescent relationship quality

Jungmeen Kim-Spoon, Gregory S. Longo, Michael E. McCullough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parents generally take pains to insure that their children adopt their own religious beliefs and practices, so what happens psychologically to adolescents who find themselves less religious than their parents? We examined the relationships among parents' and adolescents' religiousness, adolescents' ratings of parent-adolescent relationship quality, and adolescents' psychological adjustment using data from 322 adolescents and their parents. Adolescent boys who had lower organizational and personal religiousness than their parents, and girls who had lower personal religiousness than their parents, had more internalizing and externalizing psychological symptoms than did adolescents whose religiousness better matched their parents'. The apparent effects of subparental religiousness on adolescents' psychological symptoms were mediated by their intermediate effects on adolescents' ratings of the quality of their relationships with their parents. These findings identify religious discrepancies between parents and their children as an important influence on the quality of parent-adolescent relationships, with important implications for adolescents' psychological well-being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)636-641
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Intergenerational solidarity
  • Internalizing/externalizing symptoms
  • Parent-adolescent relationship quality
  • Religiousness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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