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Religion and the Daily Lives of LDS Families: An Ecological Perspective



The purpose of this article is to explore in detail how religion and family religious rituals affect the day-to-day activities of individual and family life. It includes qualitative analysis of interviews with highly religious parents and children in 67 families that belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Findings suggest that for this sample, religion was more than an external influence; it was viewed as an integral part of one's individual, familial, structural, and social systems. This finding warrants a closer look at traditional human ecological theory which suggests that religion is primarily an external influence. A conceptual model illustrates how this sample experienced religious integration into their everyday life. Limitations and implications for future research and clinical practice are discussed.
Religion and the Daily Lives of LDS Families:
An Ecological Perspective
Rachel W. Loser
Shirley R. Klein
E. Jeffrey Hill
David C. Dollahite
Brigham Young University
The purpose of this article is to explore in detail how religion and family religious rituals affect the day-to-day
activities of individual and family life. It includes qualitative analysis of interviews with highly religious parents
and children in 67 families that belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Findings suggest that
for this sample, religion was more than an external influence; it was viewed as an integral part of one’s individ-
ual, familial, structural, and social systems. This finding warrants a closer look at traditional human ecological
theory which suggests that religion is primarily an external influence. A conceptual model illustrates how this
sample experienced religious integration into their everyday life. Limitations and implications for future research
and clinical practice are discussed.
Keywords: family and children; religion and spirituality; routines and rituals
Researchers have identified spirituality as one characteristic that successful
families (happy, functional, and strong) often have in common (Krysan, Moore, &
Zill, 1990). Miller and Thoresen (2003) concluded that religion is “the single most
important influence in [life]” (p. 25) for a substantial group of Americans.
Although not all American families feel religion is influential to their everyday
life, research indicates that 95% of American married couples report a religious
affiliation (Mahoney, Pargament, Tarakeshwar, & Swank, 2001). Scholars and pro-
fessionals have also reported that among the many variables that contribute to
overall family functioning (communication, kindness, enmeshment, financial
management, etc.), sacred or spiritual orientation is a dimension of healthy fam-
ily functioning that should not be ignored (Lee et al., 1997).
As scholarly interest in family religiosity and spirituality has grown in the past
several decades, many questions regarding how religion interfaces with daily
family life have emerged. The purpose of this article is to explore in more detail
how religion and family religious rituals are integrated into the everyday home
life of families.
Authors’ Note: Research for this thesis was supported by a Mentoring Environment Grant and fund-
ing from the Family Studies Center at Brigham Young University. Rachel W. Loser conducts evening
classes at the School of Family Life. Shirley R. Klein is Associate Professor of family life at the School
of Family Life. E. Jeffrey Hill is Associate Professor at the School of Family Life. David C. Dollahite is
Professor of family life at the School of Family Life. Correspondence concerning this article should be
addressed to Shirley R. Klein, PhD, School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602;
Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, Vol. XX, No. X, Month 200X XX-XX
DOI: 10.1177/1077727X08322809
© 2008 American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Research has consistently found that religious faith and family relationships are
interrelated in positive and interesting ways (Dollahite, Marks, & Goodman, 2004;
Mahoney & Tarakeshwar, 2005). One of the most influential research efforts con-
cerning religion and family has been Mahoney, Pargament, Tarakeshwar, et al.’s
(2001) meta-analytic review of 94 studies. This review noted that religious affilia-
tion, frequency of attendance, personal religiousness, and religious homogamy
were positively and significantly associated with marital satisfaction. Measures of
religiosity were also positively linked to more commitment in marriage and neg-
atively associated with marital conflict and divorce rates. Stanley and Markman
(1992) confirmed that sharing deeply held religious values may help couples forge
a couple identity, which has been tied to greater sacrifice and harmony (Mahoney
& Tarakeshwar, 2005). Additionally, a study of 97 couples found that those who
felt their marital relationship was sacred, experienced healthy aspects of marital
functioning including more investment in marriage, less frequent marital conflict,
and greater collaboration to resolve disagreements (Lambert & Dollahite, 2006;
Mahoney, Pargament, Murray-Swank, & Murray-Swank, 2003).
Empirical studies have also reported positive links between religion and
parent–child relationships (Dollahite & Marks, 2005). Research has consistently
suggested that religiosity is tied to greater warmth in family relationships
(Mahoney & Tarakeshwar, 2005; Wilcox, 1998), as well as more skilled parenting
and less coparenting conflict (Brody, Stoneman, Flor, & McCrary, 1994). Greater
religiousness among parents has also been directly linked to fewer problem
behaviors in their children (Brody, Stoneman, & Flor, 1996). A study of 77 mothers
discovered that those who felt their parental responsibilities were sacred reported
using less verbal aggression. Parents in this study who had more liberal beliefs
about the Bible, reported decreased use of corporal punishment and in families
who were more Biblically conservative, more frequent positive parent–child inter-
actions were reported (Mahoney, Pargament, Murray-Swank, et al., 2003).
In addition to literature that addresses links between religion and family out-
comes for marriage and parenting, research shows that, on average, high levels of
religious involvement are moderately associated with better physical and mental
health status (Ellison & Levin, 1998; Miller & Thoresen, 2003). Although many
positive associations between religion and family life have emerged, scholars con-
tinue to call for more measurement and conceptual advancement in this research
area (Thomas & Cornwall, 1990). Mahoney, Pargament, Tarakeshwar, et al. (2001)
argued that,
Few studies have directly assessed how or to what degree people internalize reli-
gious messages about marriage and parenting and whether such religion-based
beliefs or behaviors enhance or harm family life. Instead, most researchers have
viewed religion from a distance and have relied on global measures of religiousness
as proxies for such factors. (p. 591)
In the literature, these distant and global measures of religiousness are called distal
religious variables (Mahoney, Pargament, Jewell, et al., 1999). These measures are
considered to be only loosely connected to family life and are based on indices
such as religious homogamy, individuals’ frequency of church attendance, and church
affiliation. (Fiese & Tomcho, 2001). Because these measures detect information
only from a distance, they do not allow us to capture the extent to which individ-
uals integrate religion into their family activities and perceptions. Thus, a “clearer
and more compelling” (Mahoney, Pargament, Jewell, et al., 1999, p. 335) under-
standing of religion and family is needed and must be obtained by focusing on
close-up measures of religiosity. Proximal religious activities are activities that are
more closely connected to individual and familial experiences or views. In a study
of 97 couples, Mahoney, Pargament, Jewell, et al. (1999) found that proximal reli-
gious variables such as couple religious rituals were more firmly and closely inte-
grated with marital functioning than were distal religious variables.
Though the focus on proximal measures of religiousness has proven to be ben-
eficial, this idea has rarely been extended to family relationships other than mar-
riage. Nor has this concept been applied to examine proximal family activities
specifically that occur in the everyday home setting. For us to have a more fine-
grained picture of the role religion plays in daily family life, it is essential to take
proximal measures into consideration (Mahoney, Pargament, Jewell, et al., 1999).
Similar to the distal/proximal distinction, Bronfenbrenner’s human ecological
model also states that individual development is influenced by factors that are
close-up such as the microsystem, as well as more removed systems such as the
macrosystems (Bronfenbrenner, 1979).
The purpose of this article is to explore in detail how religion and family reli-
gious rituals relate to, interface with, and affect daily family life. Specifically, this
study will address (a) how religion and religious rituals are integrated into every-
day life and (b) how religion influenced nonreligious rituals.
To gain a richer understanding of these areas of interest, qualitative methodol-
ogy was used in this study. Qualitative research has been useful in social science
as it most often yields rich information beyond the original research questions
(Bengtson, Acock, Allen, Dilworth-Anderson, & Klein, 2005). Qualitative research
also helps develop more theorizing regarding “the why and how beyond the what
of data about families” (Bengtson et al., 2005, p. 4). The purpose of qualitative
research is not to produce a general theory of culture and generalize across cases,
but rather within a particular culture (Geertz, 1975). Although understanding
empirical analysis is intrinsically incomplete, this study will strive to provide a
“thick description” (Geertz, 1975, p. 6) of one particular culture and the meaning
behind the interface of religion and the context of everyday family life.
When exploring where and how religion fits into the everyday home life of
families, it may be particularly helpful to obtain detailed information from
families for whom both religion and family life matter greatly (Dollahite, 2003).
Boss (1980) suggested that when studying a new area it is best to study partici-
pants who are prototypical of the variables of interest. Such a sample can provide
greater richness of experience than those for whom these topics are not especially
salient. For instance, if one were interested in studying the details of poverty;
researching the rich would not provide the wealth of data needed to answer the
intended research questions (Fitchen, 1988). Similarly, to address the specific
research questions of this study, a purposeful highly religious sample of individuals
who considered family to be important was selected. Although many religions
view the family to be important, according to Dollahite and Marks (2006),
members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS, Mormons) con-
sider family life to be central to their faith and religious worship. Thus individu-
als with an LDS religious affiliation were thought to be an ideal sample for this
study. Additional individuals of other religious affiliations were not included in
this sample to maintain homogeneity and control for a number of religious culture
variables (religious beliefs, traditions, etc.) that would otherwise add another level
of complexity to an already complex study (Rubin, 1994).
Data were collected from the ongoing Home and Family Living Analysis (HFL-
A) research project being conducted by faculty and students of the School of
Family Life at Brigham Young University (BYU). Participants were selected
through third party recommendations and snowball recruiting techniques.
Students from BYU courses studying families were invited to recommend families
who met the following criteria: (a) had a family structure of both a mother and
father and children in specific life stages, (b) were highly religious and active in
their faith community, and (c) demonstrated qualities and characteristics of suc-
cessful (happy, functional, and strong) families. Recommended families were ini-
tially contacted by phone. If the family agreed to participate, a written letter was
then sent to the family outlining the various parts of the research project. Each
family received tangible compensation valued up to $100 at the end of the
research. The institutional review board at BYU approved this study.
The sample for this study consisted of 224 members of 67 LDS heterosexual
married families. All families were reported as being strong members in their faith
community and family life. Participating families represented three basic life-
cycle stages:
1. Emerging family: A young married couple with at least one child (n = 14).
2. Growing family: A family with at least one child in grade school and no children
older than 14 years (n = 19).
3. Established family: Parents with at least one child under the age of 12 and at least
one child older than 15 still living at home (n = 34).
Family size ranged from 3 to 15 family members (M = 7.3). The age of fathers
ranged from 23 to 52 years (M = 37.8, n = 67). The age of mothers ranged from 22
to 50 years (M = 36.4, n = 67). Sons who were interviewed ranged from 6 to 22
years of age (M = 12.7, n = 34), and daughters who were interviewed ranged from
3 to 25 years of age (M = 13, n = 56). On average, family members were well-
educated; typically, fathers held baccalaureate degrees and mothers held associates
degree or a degree from a technical school. The annual average household income
was $47,800. Whereas the majority of the sample (94%) was Caucasian (n = 211),
3% of the participants were Latino (n = 7), 2% were Pacific Islanders (n = 4), and
1% were Asian (n = 2). On average, the families read scriptural text together daily,
said family prayer daily, and attended church services once a week. See Table 1 for
more demographic information.
To objectively determine the overall family functioning of the families in this
sample, parents were asked to fill out the Family Profile II survey (Lee et al., 1997),
which assessed various aspects of family life. On the sacred orientation subscale
of the Family Profile II survey (range 0-35) families had a mean score of 33.6.
According to Lee et al. (1997), families with a sacred orientation score of 33 were in
the top 80% to 90% of families on this variable. The average of the parent’s overall
family functioning score (a scale measuring the overall quality of the family sys-
tem) was calculated for each family (M = 30.3). Based on Lee et al.’s (1997) sample
of 1,722 individuals, all the families in this study were in the top 80% of U.S.
families in terms of overall healthy family functioning. Hence, this sample does not
include families in the lowest 20% of families. However, for the purposes of this
study, family functioning scores were sorted and divided into three groups within
the sample: higher family functioning, moderate family functioning, and lower
family functioning. See Loser (2007) for a more detailed analysis of these groups.
Fiese (2006) notes that organized routines and the creation of rituals, including
religious rituals and routines, help describe how families balance, adjust, and
adapt to the complicated demands of daily family life. Both family practices and
beliefs are important when examining these interactions. Practices are directly
observable behaviors and beliefs are internally held meanings or beliefs that in
turn affect behavior. A detailed presentation of Mormon beliefs is beyond the
scope of this article but the reader is referred to Dollahite (2007) for an in-depth
discussion of LDS beliefs.
Data Collection
Daly (2003) suggested that it is best to study families in the context of their
everyday life. Thus this research was conducted in the homes of the participants.
The Home and Family Living Analysis (HFL-A) instrument gathered data in a
variety of ways. Over the course of 1.5 years, trained undergraduate and gradu-
ate student researchers collected home observations, family activity observations,
surveys, and interviews from each family. Data for this research were drawn from
interviews and survey data. Mothers and fathers from each home were inter-
viewed separately. For growing families, one child was also interviewed and for
established families, at least two children were interviewed. The parent interview
consisted of approximately 50 questions and the child/adolescent interview con-
sisted of approximately 25 questions. Each interview took between 50 and 90 min
for adults (less for children) and was digitally recorded. The interview covered a
variety of topics including home as a physical and emotional space, everyday
TABLE 1: Descriptive Statistics
n Mean Standard Deviation Range
Age (years)
Father 67 37.8 8.5 23-52
Mother 67 36.4 8.3 22-50
Daughter 56 13.0 4.3 3-25
Son 34 12.7 4.2 6-22
Total household income ($)
Emerging family 11 19,300 1.5 >9,999 to 74,999
Growing family 14 48,700 2.4 >9,999 to 199,999
Established family 19 75,500 1.2 50,000 to < 200,000
Sample size 67 families
activities, family relationships, family worship, family meal time, family recre-
ation, and family work in the home.
Data for this particular study were drawn from interviews and survey data.
Although the general interview covered a variety of topics, only the following
questions were analyzed for this particular study: (a) Everyday family routines
may include activities such as feeding, housing, clothing, and finance in the fam-
ily, as well as family worship, family recreation, family education, etc. What do
you think are three of the most important everyday family routines in your home?
(b) How does this activity usually happen? Please describe this activity. (c) How
does this activity enhance family life? (d) How does this activity detract from fam-
ily life? (e) Does family worship have meaning to you? If so, what meaning? (f) To
what extent do your religious beliefs and practices influence the sacredness you
feel in your home and your everyday family living? In addition to these specific
questions, data from the full transcripts were reviewed for additional information
on important activities.
Data Analyses
To analyze the gathered data, we employed a grounded theory approach
(Strauss & Corbin, 1998). In accordance with grounded theory and an inductive
approach, analysis was grounded in the data and not in the preconceived notions
of the researcher (Strauss & Corbin, 1998).
Interviews were audio taped, transcribed, checked for accuracy, and sorted by
family functioning group, and coded strategically by the first author. Qualitative
software (NVIVO Version 2.0) was used to organize coding of the data. Open,
axial, and selective coding (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) were used to develop a con-
ceptual framework that describes family members’ experiences of religion and
how it relates to day-to-day activities in the home.
Interviews were divided into higher, moderate, and lower family functioning
groups according to the average family functioning scores before analysis began.
Participant interviews of the lower family functioning group were coded in their
entirety first, followed by those in the higher family functioning group. Codes and
patterns for both these groups were compared and analyzed. For more informa-
tion on the similarities and differences between these two groups see Loser (2007).
After all interviews in the lower and higher family functioning groups were
coded entirely, interviews in the moderate family functioning group were ana-
lyzed in detail until theoretical saturation was reached and analyzing additional
data yielded no additional information (Lofland, Snow, Anderson, & Lofland,
2005). Interviews that were not coded in detail were later randomly selected to be
reviewed for additional enlightening explanations or categories. After initial cod-
ing took place, the interviews were revisited to make certain that they contained
sufficient data to support the themes. An attempt was made to falsify these
themes (Gilgun, 2005) by going back through the data to prove it inadequate or
wrong. Then, the conceptual framework was finalized.
In qualitative research, Matthews (2005) argued that the researcher should be
intimately familiar with the social world in which the participants are involved.
Additionally, Lofland et al. (2005) said that it is important for qualitative
researchers to be knowledgeable about the background and culture of the setting
they are studying. These authors are devout LDS living in a heavily populated
LDS area (Utah). As insiders to the faith, we strive to be objective while offering
our interpretations when appropriate. We are committed to offering the reader an
accurate account and evidences from the sample of both the strengths and chal-
lenges mentioned concerning religion and everyday family life. Limitations of this
study will be explicitly described in the discussion section of this article.
Though participants had varying responses, the preponderance of families
studied indicated that religion was strongly integrated into their family life. The
most common themes reported by these families will be reported in this section.
Findings rely on responses from both parents and children and will be illustrated
by quotes from the data. Names of the interviewed persons have been withheld
or changed to ensure confidentiality.
Integration of Religion into Everyday Life
When asked to discuss everyday family life, the majority of participants indi-
cated that religion was an integrated part of all aspects of life. In fact, a prominent
theme was that many individuals felt their religious beliefs were central to their
lives. A 25-year-old mother of two said, “God plays a central role in our family . . .
Religion is just a very integral part of our lives.” Similarly, a 30-year-old father of
four said, “I think when the gospel is so much a part of your life it’s not like you
separate it from other things. It’s just part of everything.” In addition to this over-
arching theme, the data suggested that religion influenced everyday life by way
of four main systems: (a) individual, (b) familial, (c) structural, and (d) social.
When explaining how religion affected the individual system, participants
indicated that religion influenced personal behavior in an all-encompassing way.
A father of 13 reported, “Religion is the dominate force for good in our lives.”
Another frequent theme indicated that a personal relationship with God was
viewed as being a priority in the lives of many participants. A 36-year-old father
of five said, “Personally the most important thing in my life is my relationship
with my Heavenly Father and then my relationship with my family comes right
after that.” In addition to these general themes, individuals mentioned more
specifically that religion influenced their clothing choices, conversation, and per-
ceptions of everyday activities.
Clothing choices. Participants reported that their religious beliefs taught them to
wear modest clothing. When discussing her family, a 27-year-old mother of five
mentioned, “No one dresses immodest. They respect the dress standards of the
Church.” Another mother discussed how she taught her children about modest
When our girls were little, we didn’t feel good about them wearing anything
sleeveless. I just thought, even though they are little and it maybe doesn’t matter as
much . . . they might as well learn now to wear things that will help them be modest
later. I think that that helped teach.
Conversation. The manner in which one talked was also influenced by religious
beliefs. A mother of 13 said, “I don’t want my children to think of religion in a sep-
arate box from their relationships or their family life. That’s my hope that is just a
part of our conversation, our walk and talk.” Additionally, religious beliefs
impacted the topics of conversation. A 39-year-old mother of eight said, “We have a
lot of gospel discussions as we talk about their day and how they felt about things.”
Perceptions of everyday activities. Religious beliefs were also reported to influence
the way one perceived everyday objects and activities. A 43-year-old father of
seven said,
One of the scriptures says that everything is spiritual . . . So if that is the case we need
to look and see with spiritual eyes. What is the message? You even ask that about a
book or a movie or music.
One example of applying spiritual significance to an everyday activity was pro-
vided by a mother of six.
I’ve thought a lot about how food is a metaphor for spiritual things, and how it was
designed that you have to have it three times a day. You have to have it regularly. . . .
There has got to be meaning in it for God to design it that way.
Participants indicated that religious beliefs also influenced their familial system.
One father summarized well what the majority of the sample conveyed,
“Everything that we do in our home contributes to the family relationships with
God. How we nurture our children physically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially
is directly influenced by our religious beliefs.” More specifically, religion seemed to
influence the perceptions of the importance and the purpose of the family.
Importance of the family. Participants reported that their religious beliefs empha-
sized the importance of family. A 45-year-old father of four said:
It [religion] forms the whole foundation for our beliefs. We believe the family is for-
ever. We believe that we are creating an eternal unit. That shapes the whole way you
think. When you think that the family is an eternal unit and that your family is for-
ever and that these relationships are permanent, then you respond differently to
those relationships.
Another father expressed a similar perspective, “Our family is the most important
thing and our relationships with each other are going to last forever. It is impor-
tant to like each other and get along and have fun doing things together.”
Purpose of the family. When discussing the purposes of the family, the most fre-
quent response was that parents were responsible to teach their children about
their religious beliefs and values. A 28-year-old mother of two said, “Now that I
have kids, the most important thing or object for me is to teach them how impor-
tant it is to focus on Christ and how everything surrounds Christ.” Similarly, a
father of seven said, “In my home, the biggest task that I have or goal is that my
children will be able to learn for themselves who Heavenly Father is and have a
testimony for themselves.”
For this sample of LDS families, religious beliefs also heavily influenced the
structural system of the home place. Participants indicated that religion influ-
enced the way they (a) decorated and organized their physical space and (b) per-
ceived the home place.
Decorated and organized. A 39-year-old mother of six said, “Religion influences
all of it. I mean it is how we decorate and how we live.” Like this mother, many
individuals discussed how they decorated their home with religious objects. A 22-
year-old mother said, “We have framed pictures up of Christ and things around
to remind you of what’s important and who should be guiding our life.”
Not only was décor affected by religious beliefs, but the way in which physical
space was organized was also influenced. A father of four said,
We have a room where we pray. We have a room where we can eat together. We have
a room where we can sit and study scriptures together. We have pictures of the Savior
and the family. I remember when we lived in Georgia and a friend walked into our
house and said, “Boy, you can tell this is a Mormon home,” by virtue of the things we
had on the walls. I think those things contribute and it helps create an atmosphere
where the home becomes a retreat from the world.
Perception of home. Another frequent theme suggested that the house was
viewed as being a sacred place because of religious beliefs. Several individuals
even compared their home to the LDS temple, the most sacred building the church
constructs. One father said, “Home means happiness. It is more like the temple
than any other place.” A 52-year-old father of four said,
Obviously if you believe in the importance of eternal families then . . . the home has
got to be like a temple. You want to have it be functional, be peaceful, be a place that
supports spiritual activities as well as the day-to-day things.
One mother discussed how she taught her children this principle:
We are told in the scriptures that our homes are sacred. In fact, even next to the tem-
ple. We try to make sure that our children know that there are certain places that are
special, like our living room. It’s a place where we have Family Home Evening and
scripture study and prayers. We try to let them know that that is a special place in
our home and we don’t jump on the furniture. It’s more of a calm place that they can
feel the spirit. Certainly there are lots of places that we just have fun and do fun
things but we try to remember that it’s a sacred place and we would want our
Heavenly Father’s spirit to be here.
Although the majority of the respondents suggested that the home was a sacred
place, a few individuals reported that the term sacred was more of the ideal than
the reality. A 35-year-old father of four said, “It’s not temple sacred. We try to
keep it clean in all respects, but it’s a rowdy place and there are a lot of people
here all the time.” Another father explained:
We try to make it [home] a sacred place. That’s not always the easiest thing to do.
Sometimes we run from mess to mess, but I think that certainly sacred is an ideal that
we have here and we work to make it that way by the things that we say and do and
the things that we try to bring into our home.
Finally, participants indicated that religion influenced their social system
through involvement and service in the religious community.
Involvement. The majority of this sample referred to being actively involved in their
religious community. The most common religious community referred to by this sam-
ple was a ward (i.e. a congregation that typically consists of about 250-500 members.)
On average, participants reported attending church once a week. Additionally, other
ward activities for the family or youth members were held regularly and were viewed
as being important. A father of five said, “When we have social activities most of the
time they’re related to a ward activity.” A 52-year-old father of four explained: “We
participate in ward activities. It is like [an] extended family . . . and really adds a lot to
our children’s understanding of the church and the gospel . . .” Another family
reported they use their family religious rituals to get involved in their community. A
45-year-old father of six said: “We try to use family home evening as an opportunity
to get together with family and get to know our new neighbors.”
Serving. Several parents, and even a few adolescents, mentioned that they had
been asked to serve in their ward performing leadership, teaching, or other
services. They referred to this service as a calling which typically required 1 to 20
hr of volunteer time each week, depending on the nature of the calling. For most,
these callings were viewed as a positive way to get involved in the community. A
28-year-old mother of two said:
Because of our callings, we’re always out visiting people. We put each of the kids in
a stroller and we’re always taking them out and they’re always carrying something
in their lap. I think that’s really fun because that’s a time when Dave and I can talk
while the kids just sit there. They feel they’re doing something important and they
also see us doing some service, which is important. I think that is beneficial.
Participants also mentioned that religious beliefs encouraged them to help oth-
ers as a family. A 40-year-old mother of nine said, “We serve with our callings and
things we do for neighbors. At Christmas time we make sure we visit these sweet
older people in the ward, caroling to them, and letting them know we love them.”
Conflict between callings and family life. Not all that was said about serving in the
religious community was positive however. Though most participants responded
with a “no” when asked if religion detracted from family life in any way, about 3%
of the sample mentioned that their service in religious callings took time away
from their family relationships. A 15-year-old daughter referred to how busy life
can be for a family who served in the church:
My dad is gone almost all Sunday because he’s in the Stake Presidency. And, my
mom is in the Stake Primary Presidency and so she’s gone to meetings and stuff.
Then like Sundays we kind of go our different ways because everyone has so many
different meetings like Bishop’s Youth Council for girls who are in Mia Maid presi-
dencies and other things like that.
A 32-year-old father of three explained, “I have to admit that sometimes if we
didn’t have all that we had going on Sunday like different church callings and things
like that, sometimes it might be better for our family relationships.”
Integration of Religion Into Nonreligious Rituals
For purposes of this article, religious rituals were considered to be any ritual
that focused primarily on religious worship. Nonreligious rituals were considered
to be activities that were not explicitly focused on worship and involved everyday
goals such as eating, playing, relaxing, providing, and so on. To answer the third
research question, responses regarding family rituals other than religious rituals
were analyzed. This analysis showed that religion did indeed play a role in non-
religious rituals for the families in this sample. Religion appeared to be most
strongly integrated into mealtime and recreational rituals for these families; how-
ever, religion was also viewed as being a part of other everyday activities such as
coming and going, bedtime, hygiene, employment, education, exercise, planning,
and housework. It is also interesting that the religious ritual of family home
evening was often mentioned as an activity that was highly integrated with non-
religious elements.
As respondents were describing their family mealtime experience, the majority
of participants either implicitly or explicitly referred to religion influencing this
everyday activity. Though responses varied, religion seemed to influence meal-
time most frequently by way of: (a) prayers and/or scripture reading at meals,
(b) religious conversation at meals, and (c) special meals on the Sabbath day.
Prayer and/or scripture study. An 8-year-old daughter said, “We pray at every
meal.” Like this young daughter, most families reported that they said a prayer
before they ate each family meal together. Some families also talked about study-
ing their scriptures during family meals. When discussing breakfast, a 42-year-old
mother of nine explained:
We eat at about 7:15 or 7:20. . . . I usually rotate cold cereal, eggs or you know some-
thing, oatmeal or whatever. So anyway, the table is set by the time they come down.
Then we have family prayer and a little scripture which is usually short, but at least
it is something for them to think about each day.
Conversation. Several families reported that mealtime was a common and con-
venient time to talk about religious topics. A 41-year-old father of two teenagers
said, “Casual conversations around the dinner table often take a religious topic.”
Similarly, when a 12-year-old daughter was describing family mealtime she
We sit down and we talk together and we usually have spiritual discussions. It just like
helps our knowledge grow of the gospel and we just like to talk as a family. We’ll some-
times just have a spiritual discussion and we’ll have those at dinner and breakfast.
Sabbath day meals. Many families also reported that they intentionally made
Sunday dinners special because they are on the Sabbath day. A 42-year-old mother
of nine said, “It is a tradition definitely to have Sunday dinner be a little bit nicer
meal. It just seems like part of Sunday.” Similarly, a 20-year-old daughter from a
different family said, “Sunday is the day when we can like breathe and relax and
have a nice dinner and relax and then be together as a family.”
As respondents were describing family recreation, many participants reported
that religion influenced regular recreational activities as well as family vacations.
Some individuals mentioned specific recreational activities religion was inte-
grated into whereas others mentioned how religion influenced the kind of recre-
ation they engaged in and the way they viewed recreation. Participants also
mentioned that religious rituals often had a recreational component to them.
Activities and vacations. When talking about recreation, a 34-year-old father of
four described the following tradition:
One tradition that we’ve had is every Sunday we’ll pop popcorn with the kids and
all come sit down here as a family and watch a Living Scriptures video, and then kind
of talk about it. Talk about what principles were there and what they learned from it.
And that’s been something we’ve all enjoyed. So, that’s been a fun tradition that
we started.
In addition to daily or weekly recreational activities that involved religion,
many respondents reported that yearly traditions and family vacations were
influenced by their religion. A 42-year-old mother of nine said,
When we went back east and saw all the church history sites, that was just wonder-
ful for our family. It was amazing. Spencer said that Nauvoo [IL] is like spiritual
Disneyland, because it is like this wonderful spiritual thrill at each place we went to.
So, all of those places we went to just uplifted us and helped us have a deeper testi-
mony of the gospel.
Type of recreation. Many individuals mentioned that religion provided standards
for them to judge the type of recreation they engaged in. A 27-year-old father of
two said,
If we didn’t have religious practices and beliefs, it would be different. We would do
things differently. We wouldn’t worry about watching certain things on TV or movies
or some things being in the house that we do worry about [such as immorality or vio-
lence]. As a consequence, we are better off and the house is more spiritual.
Perception of recreation. Many also expressed that some recreational activities
were perceived as having a religious component to them. A 37-year-old father of
four said,
Being outside, you know, going to a national park, or going to a special place outside
that was particularly scenic or that really manifested the beauty of the earth, I think
that is a spiritual thing. I think our children recognize that. It’s just a nice place to be.
Religious rituals involving recreation. Not only did families say that recreational
activities involved religion, but they also reported that religious rituals often
involved recreation. For instance, when describing nightly scripture study, a
50-year-old father of two said,
Most of the time, it’s kind of a peaceful time. Again, once in a while we have a pillow
fight or something that takes place prior to or after or some other little activity that
probably isn’t that spiritual, but it’s a lot of fun . . . it’s just a time to be together.
Family Home Evening
When exploring how religion and nonreligious rituals are integrated, one ritual
promoted by the LDS religion that was mentioned by nearly all the participants
was of particular interest. This religious ritual was called family home evening
and generally took place once a week in the homes of these families. Interestingly,
according to this sample, this worship ritual typically involved religion, recre-
ation, education, music, and food (components that are not always innately com-
bined). A 43-year-old mother of four described their family home evening as such:
Once a week on Monday nights we do family night. We start off by singing 6 or 7
songs because everybody needs to pick a song. Then we have opening prayer and
then somebody will give a lesson . . . and then we usually have a fun activity. Often
it is a very interesting activity, like the night we got out the guitars and everybody
had to play guitars even though no one knows how to. But we have fun. Of course,
you always have to eat your treat, because if we don’t it is not family night.
Another 34-year-old mother of five said,
Family home evening is important to us and that’s definitely a religious practice that
my kids look forward to all week long. “Are we having family home evening? What
are we doing for family home evening? Who’s got the treats?” are the questions all
weekend. They are excited for family home evening. It’s a time to play together. We
have a lesson and a spiritual thought. We do a lot of playing and have fun together
on that night too.
This study analyzed the role religion and religious rituals played in the everyday
life of families. Specifically, it explored: (a) how religion and religious rituals are
integrated into everyday life and (b) how religion influenced nonreligious rituals.
As these data were analyzed, certain patterns and outcomes emerged that
allowed for the construction of a conceptual model. This model suggests concepts
and processes about religion and everyday life in the home. Though this model
helps provide a thick description of the role religion played in the everyday life of
this sample, no attempt to claim cause and effect is made.
Conceptual Model
The conceptual model (see Figure 1) summarizes the main findings of this
study. It illustrates important patterns and outcomes suggested by the partici-
pants involved. The top circle of the model represents how this sample explained
that religious belief is central to their individual, familial, structural, and social
systems. This religious integration then influenced both religious and nonreli-
gious rituals as portrayed in the next part of the model. Finally, the last portion of
the model depicts how the religious integration into the various systems and daily
rituals of these families seemed to lead to several positive individual and family
outcomes as explained by participants.
Despite the researchers’ efforts to discover if religious rituals detracted from life
in any way, no negative outcomes were reported by this sample. Though negative
outcomes of religious rituals may be experienced by some, the data drawn from
this particular sample was consistent with previous research on religion and pos-
itive individual and family outcomes (Mahoney, Pargament, Jewell, et al., 1999;
Mahoney, Pargament, Murray-Swank, et al., 2003). Arrows in the model show a
circular pattern indicating how the integration of religion and religious rituals
continually influence aspects of everyday family life. For more information
regarding this conceptual model and the benefits perceived by this sample, see
Loser (2007).
Though this model was grounded in the data, the general layout of the model
is found to be consistent with family systems theory and the provident home
model proposed by Hill and Klein (2005). The basic premises of the provident
home model denote that contexts (individual, familial, social, and structural)
influence processes of the home (including worshiping) which influence individ-
ual, familial, and societal outcomes (Hill & Klein, 2005).
Similarly, the data of this study strongly suggest that religious integration into
the various contexts or systems influenced the process of religious rituals. The
type and manner in which religious rituals were carried out then influenced spe-
cific individual and familial outcomes. These outcomes in turn influenced how
religion was integrated into various contexts of everyday life.
Though it was not explicitly reported that the arrows of this model could also
influence the cycle inversely, it is important to note that this could be a possibility.
It would make sense that rituals could influence the integration of religion into the
Figure 1: Conceptual model.
systems, outcomes could influence the way rituals are carried out, and the inte-
gration of the religion into the system could influence the outcomes experienced.
Inverse arrows suggesting these relationships were drawn in the model using a
dotted line to note this possible cycle. Further research is needed to more explic-
itly study if these relationships exist as suggested.
Integration of Religion Into Everyday Life
Data indicated that religion influenced everyday life by way of four main sys-
tems: (a) individual, (b) familial, (c) structural, and (d) social. This theme is con-
sistent with several basic assumptions of human ecological theory which
advocates that human beings and families interact with diverse kinds and levels
of external systems on a continual basis (Bubolz & Sontag, 1993). Bronfenbrenner
(1979) described the individual’s environment as a set of nested structures
(microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems) which make up the blueprints for the
culture’s ecology of human development (macrosystem).
When interpreting the conceptual model of this study, this common social
science perspective lends support for the notion that religion can be an interre-
lated part of individual and familial life. Like Bronfenbrenner’s theory (1979), the
individual, familial, structural, and social systems mentioned by these partici-
pants were viewed as being nested structures, which influenced each other and
were highly interrelated with religious beliefs.
In addition to religious integration into these nested systems, most participants
in this study reported that religious belief was central to their life. To illustrate this
dominant theme, the model portrays religious beliefs being at the core of the
above mentioned systems. Thus these families suggested that religion was more
of an internal rather than an external influence. This notion could be considered
contrary to popular human ecological theory which often proposes that religion is
primarily an external influence. However, Bubolz and Sontag (1993) did note that,
“When studying a family ecosystem, one must make explicit the values and goals
that each individual holds, those that are shared by the family as a unit, as well as
those operative in the social-cultural environment” (p. 436). Although “values and
goals” that individuals hold are certainly influenced by religion and religious
beliefs, it could be argued that these concepts are not synonymous. Values are
what one considers to be good or right (Bubolz & Sontag, 2001), whereas religion
and religious beliefs are a guide for what one regards to be true. This sample in
particular expressed that not only were values central to their life, but their reli-
gious beliefs were as well. This is an interesting concept that has rarely been
addressed in theoretical literature. Further research should be conducted to
explore whether or not this notion holds true for other samples and in other situ-
ations and would thus merit a closer look at human ecological theory.
Religious Influence on Nonreligious Rituals
Surprisingly, little research has addressed the notion that religion influences
family nonreligious rituals. Data from this study suggests that religion was an
integrated part of many nonreligious rituals; mealtime and recreation were men-
tioned most frequently. In regards to mealtime and religion, other research involv-
ing highly religious samples found that meals often have religious meaning for
those of the Christian, Jewish, and Muslims faiths (Kaufman, 1993; Marks, 2004;
Mazumdar & Mazumdar, 1999). Concerning recreation, Heintzman and Van
Andel (1995) argued that although there is little research regarding the connection
between religion and recreation, many similarities exist between spirituality and
leisure experiences. They also argue that leisure behaviors such as music, drama,
storytelling, dance, and wilderness experiences may precipitate spiritual experi-
ences. Though a small portion of literature is consistent with the idea that religion
influences nonreligious activities such as recreation and meals, more empirical
research is needed on this topic to fully explain and explore the potential of reli-
gious influence in everyday life. See Loser (2007) for more information regarding
the specific outcomes regarding religious rituals mentioned by this sample.
Sample and Methods
Because the purpose of this study was to build theory and provide a “thick
description” (Geertz, 1975, p. 6) of the role religion plays in everyday family life,
a purposeful sample of 67 highly religious families was used. The uniformity of
this sample allowed for a closer look at the particular phenomenon as it occurs in
one culture. However, there are many limitations due to this homogeneous sam-
ple, thus findings from this study cannot be generalized.
Because this sample was composed of those with an LDS religious affiliation,
we are limited in the way that these findings can be generalized to those of other
faiths. Like Dollahite et al. (2004), we argue that more research should be per-
formed on a much wider variety of religious perspectives including those of non-
Christian and Christian religions. Further research would do well to apply the
research questions of this study to those of other religious affiliations. As more is
known about individual religious affiliations, a grander picture will be produced
suggesting the patterns, similarities, and differences of how religion plays a role
in the everyday life of families in other settings.
This sample is also limited in that it deals with only families with two parents
in the home who were considered to be religious. Further research will be needed
to determine whether the theoretical findings of the current study are found
among families with single parents or parents with differing religious perspec-
tives. Samples of individuals who are not considered to be highly religious would
also shed greater understanding on this phenomenon.
Based on Lee et al.’s (1997) research, all the families in this study were in the
top 80% of U.S. families in their overall family functioning. Samples including
families in the lowest 20% of family functioning should also be considered in
future research regarding religiosity and everyday family life.
Though the sample did differ ethnically and economically, differences were not
frequent or drastic enough to make meaningful comparisons. Because ethnicity
(Dollahite et al., 2004) and education and income (Schieman, Nguyen, & Elliot,
2003; Stark, 1972) have been found to influence religiosity, future studies should
explore how these research questions apply to those of diverging socioeconomic
statuses and cultures.
Another limitation to this study is that the questions analyzed were drawn
from the general HFL-A interview which covered a wide variety of topics.
Because of this, it is likely that the subject of religion in the home was not com-
pletely exhausted. In hopes of further illumination of this phenomenon, future
research should be certain to develop interviews specifically addressing religious
influence on daily life.
The purpose of this article was to explore in detail how family religious rituals
relate to, interface with, and affect the day-to-day activity of family life. Despite the
limitations, several conclusions can be drawn from this study. Most importantly,
religion was viewed as being an integrated and important part of everyday family
life. Because of the overwhelming perception that religious integration enhanced
individual and family life, the potentially far reaching implications of these find-
ings should be strongly considered for future research and clinical practice.
Some have suggested and offered guidance to therapists regarding how routines
and rituals can be beneficially implemented into therapy (Imber-Black, Roberts, &
Whiting, 2003; Doherty, 1997). Others have promoted that religion is an essential
consideration in family therapy (Carlson & Erickson, 2002; Walsh, 1999). Findings
from this research may reinforce the possible positive affects religion and religious
rituals could have in clinical settings. Marks (2004) suggests that an appropriate
way to use religion in therapy is to gently ask early on whether there are any reli-
gious beliefs or practices that are important to the individual, couple, or family. If
clients wish to discuss religious beliefs, therapists may then advise clients with
added insights while being respectful about beliefs and cultures (Marks, 2004).
Our findings suggest that an exploration of religion and everyday life can
inform other research. Our limited sample makes it difficult to generalize these
findings to other populations. However, in-depth exploration of one faith may
provide a more complete picture of religion’s influence. For example, Smith and
Denton (2005) found that, on a variety of outcomes, more religious American
youth do better than less religious ones; yet teens are not very articulate about
their religious beliefs or about how they influence the rest of their lives.
Interestingly, Smith and Denton found that LDS youth were among the most reli-
gious and the most articulate about their faith. Our study suggests that that the
multilayered connections between religion and everyday life may increase the
connections between religion and the rest of life.
The information derived from this research might also be helpful for religious
denominations, clergymen, family life educators, and outreach professionals as
they continue to teach and promote healthy family processes. Finally, this research
might help families see more clearly the possibilities for religious influences in the
many aspects of daily life and thus find ways to create positive effects for all
members of the family.
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... For example, Loser, Klein, Hill, and Dollahite (2008) examined the way in which religion affected day-to-day activities among a sample of LDS families. Respondents typically reported that religion was strongly integrated into their lives. ...
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... Given that parents in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints make religion the focus of family interactions, rituals, and socialization practices (Airhart & Bendroth, 1996;Loser, Klein, Hill, & Dollahite, 2008;Scheitle & Adamczyk, 2010), the disruption is significant when children decide to disaffiliate and their parents remain active. Indeed, parents often feel like they have failed and/or that their child has betrayed them (Ellison, Bartkowski, & Segal, 1996). ...
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Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints face a unique and often turbulent time in their relationship with their parent if the individual decides to leave the Church. To explore this phenomenon, we investigated the turning points and relational trajectories of children who have left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their interactions with their parents still active in the Church. Thirty emerging adult children were interviewed using the retrospective interviewing technique (RIT). Through turning point analysis, we identified nine overarching turning points: (1) open conversation, (2) restatement, (3) personal withdrawal, (4) confrontation, (5) conformity, (6) coming out, (7) moving out, (8) third-party events, and (9) boundaries and interference. Four relationship trajectories also emerged: (1) disrupted, (2) turbulent (3) declining, and(4) accelerating. Findings and theoretical implications are discussed.
... Many clinical social workers and social work practices today include religious questioning in the initial assessment to help gauge a client' s perception on integrating faith into practice. This practice is supported by the ecological perspective which notes the significance of addressing a person' s spiritual culture, especially when he or she is coping with the effects of a traumatic event (Branton, 2006;Loser, Klein, Hill & Dollahite, 2008;Vis & Battistone, 2014) Many agencies also offer Christian counseling to help with this and there are other faith traditions that offer support and help in the face of tragedy as well. According to Hohn et al. (2017), "the nature of integration of faith should vary considerably, depending on the competent assessment of the client' s needs and appropriate respect for client self-determination" (p. ...
Responses to school shootings nationwide have been varied. While prevention and intervention have been a primary focus for many public schools, healing through faith has been less communicated in the public. Many survivors and stakeholders have publicly ridiculed overtly spiritual responses to school shootings that minimize action needed to address the issue, citing that policy change and improved safety precautions in schools are the primary ways in which change will occur. However, multiple recent suicides of individuals who experienced the effects of a school shooting, suggest that healing from trauma should also be a main priority after a school shooting. This study explores the role of faith and religion with trauma intervention in the aftermath of school shootings. The article uses case study data to discuss the methods by which faith can be a resource for healing from trauma after school shootings.
... In short, LDS families emphasize an "eternal family perspective" (Leonhardt et al., 2018) and family religious rituals intended to worship God and strengthen family relationships. For example, a qualitative studies of 224 individuals from 67 LDS families found that regular engagement in family religious ritualsin addition to increasing family unity and improving relationshipsreportedly fostered greater spiritual growth, refined focus and perspective on life's meaning, and improved personal behavior among all family members (Loser, Klein, Hill, & Dollahite, 2008;Loser, Hill, Klein, & Dollahite, 2009). The Loser et al. studies consisted entirely of families from Utah in the heart of LDS culture and Family Home Evening was only one of several rituals that were studied. ...
Scholars of religious ritual have noted that inadequate attention has been paid to religious ritual in the social sciences. Based on what has been done, it is apparent that sacred family rituals (when done well and with relational sensitivity) can enhance structure, meaning, and family unity. The present study examines the family-level ritual practice of weekly Family Home Evening among members of 26 Latter-day Saint (LDS) families (N = 58 individuals). Qualitative analyses found the following three themes: (a) Family Home Evening as a Conversation; (b) Challenges of Family Home Evening; and (c) The Value of Family Home Evening. Primary data that support and illustrate the three themes are presented, along with implications and applications.
... Moreover, It has also been found that religion has an important role to play when making choice for food consumption among Muslims in Islamic or western countries (Ahmad, Kadir, & Salehuddin, 2013). the religious influence can be observed in the life and behavior of individual (Loser, Klein, Hill, & Dollahite, 2008). The affiliation and commitment with religion are two noticeable facets which influence the behavior of consumer (Mokhlis, 2009).Commercially, in the world consumer market for Muslims is growing fast, due to two reasons; Firstly, it is due to its association of religious dedication and beliefs of being cleaner, healthier, as well as tastier and secondly, due to the acceptance of halal in the world because of the adaptation process (Burgmann, 2007). ...
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between subjective norms (SNs), attitude (ATT) and perceived behavioral control (PBC) in predicting intention to choose halal-labeled products. Additionally, this research is an attempt to address the moderating influence of religiosity (RG) on relationship between theory of planned behavior constructs and halal purchase intention. Design/methodology/approach The data were collected through a survey. To find the factors that affect purchase intentions of Pakistani consumers regarding halal purchase intention partial least squares (PLS) path modeling has been used in the study. Findings The results state that TBP constructs, i.e. (ATT and PBC) have significant and positive and influence over halal purchase intentions. However, SN did not have positive and significant influence over halal purchase intention. Furthermore, no moderation effect of RG could be found in this study. Findings suggest that RG has not moderated the relationship between TBP constructs and halal purchase intention. Research limitations/implications This study has incorporated three antecedents of TBP. However, extended theory of planned behavior can also be tested to predict influence on consumer halal purchase intentions in Pakistan. Moreover, other variables, e.g. country of origin can also be added to examine the moderation effect on TBP constructs and halal purchase intention. Originality/value This research identifies the rationale behind internally perceived factors that influence purchasing halal product, it further adds to an understanding of content specific (halal products) purchase intention. The practical implications include the possible approaches that managers need to address while promoting Halal labels and this will influence marketing strategies in general and communications specifically.
This study focuses on investigating the purchase intention of Halal food at restaurants in Subang Jaya. By utilizing the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and religion and Halal certification in the theoretical framework, data were collected from 323 Muslim and Non-Muslim respondents who dine at restaurants in Subang Jaya. Findings of this study show that the purchase intentions of Muslim and Non-Muslims respondents in purchasing Halal food at restaurants in Subang Jaya are influenced by attitude and religion while Halal certification has the lowest influence. This study extends the perception of the Muslim and Non-Muslim respondents in purchasing Halal food. The practical implication of this study contributes knowledge to the government agency especially JAKIM and HDC and also restaurant owners to encourage the purchase intention of Halal food in Malaysia.
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This article presents the narratives of personal experiences of 35 Latter-day Saint fathers of children with special needs and discusses how their religious beliefs and practices have influenced the meaning of those experiences. The narratives provide a window on how one group of highly religious fathers makes sense of having children with disabilities or chronic illnesses. For these fathers, belief in a divine plan that includes both mortal and eternal life created a coherent sense of meaning despite disability and death. That plan involved continuation of family relationships beyond death. The fathers' belief in this divine plan created an expectation of an eternal relationship with their children free from the limitations of illness or disability experienced in this life. These fathers' beliefs and expectations inspired them to make and keep a commitment to a sacred responsibility of loving, serving, and caring for their children with special needs. These fathers' experiences are also interpreted in light of a generative theory of fathering and faith and in terms of Kenneth Pargament's (1997) theory about conservation and transformation of sacred significance in religious coping and adaptation.
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Despite ample evidence that global indexes of religiousness are linked to family functioning, the mechanisms by which religion uniquely influences family dynamics are not well understood or empirically documented. To advance the scientific study of religion's role in families, we delineate how the construct of sanctification applies to marital and parent-child relationships as well as to the entire family systems according to diverse religious traditions. We define sanctification as a psychological process in which aspects of life are perceived as having spiritual character and significance. We summarize the psychometric properties of two sets of measures that we have developed to assess the sanctification of marriage, parent-child relationships, and sexuality: Manifestation of God and Sacred Qualities scales. We hypothesize that sanctification has desirable implications for family life, supporting this assertion with initial empirical findings from our program of research. We also highlight the potential harm that may result from the sanctification of family relationships and discuss circumstances that may present particular risks (unavoidable challenges, violations by family members, loss, conflict, and intrapsychic and institutional barriers). Finally, we discuss future research directions to study more closely the influence of religion and sanctification on family life.
We proposed a family process model that links maternal and paternal formal religiosity to marital interaction quality, parental cocaregiver support and conflict, parent-youth relationship quality, and parental use of inconsistent/nattering parenting strategies. The sample included 90 African American youths and their married parents, who lived in the rural South. African American community members participated in the development of the self-report instruments and observational research methods used to test the model. The results supported most of the hypotheses. Religiosity was linked with higher levels of marital interaction quality and co-caregiver support, and with lower levels of marital and co-caregiver conflict. The associations between religiosity and parent-youth relationship quality were mediated by the marital and co-caregiver relationships.
This book aims to provide new insights on the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers. It presents the main findings of the National Study of Youth and Religion, a research project on the religious and spiritual lives of American adolescents conducted at the University of North Carolina from 2001 to 2005. The survey captured a broad range of differences among U.S. teens in religion, age, race, sex, socioeconomic status, rural-suburban-urban residence, region of the country, and language spoken. The book provides answers to questions about the character of teenage religion, the extent of spiritual seeking among youth, how religion affects adolescent moral reasoning and risk behaviors, and much more. It is hoped that by informing readers about the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers, it will help foster discussions in families, religious congregations, community organizations, and beyond, not only about the general state of religion in the United States, but also about cultural and institutional practices that may better serve and care for American teens.
Journals in the fields of family, religion, sociology, psychology, and therapy were searched for articles examining both religion and the family. The interface between religion and family is being addressed by social scientists studying the family who also have an interest in religion, and by some social scientists studying religion who also have an interest in family. Few articles examine the interrelations among multiple dimensions of each institution. This review reveals a pressing need for more serious theoretical and conceptual work that incorporates multidimensional approaches and is specifically designed to illuminate the interrelationships between religion and the family.