The role of self-concept, peer support, and family support as they relate to attitudes towards secular knowledge among Modern Orthodox high school graduates spending a year of study in Israel
Halpern, Stuart Wagner
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The purpose of this study was to understand the role that self-concept, peer support, and family support play in relation to openness to secular knowledge among American Modern Orthodox Jewish high school students studying for the year in Israel. The change in openness to secular knowledge after the year in Israel was examined, as was the relationship between religious change and openness to secular knowledge. The sample consisted of 145 Jewish male and female high school graduates, surveyed both before and after their year in Israel. It was hypothesized that self-concept, family support, and peer support would all predict openness to secular knowledge prior to the year in Israel, and that only self-concept would predict openness to secular knowledge following the year in Israel. It was also hypothesized that there would be a significant decrease in openness to secular knowledge, and that there would be an inverse relationship between religious change and openness to secular knowledge, among students who completed their year in Israel. Multiple regression analysis indicated that family support was the most significant predictor of openness to secular knowledge both prior to, and following, the year in Israel, with self-concept being a significant factor only following the year in Israel. T-test analysis confirmed the hypothesis that openness to secular knowledge would decrease immediately after the year in Israel. There was no significant relationship found between religious change and openness to secular knowledge immediately after the year in Israel. The results highlight the importance of family support with regards to student's outlook on secular knowledge, as well as the effect of the year in Israel on the value placed on secular knowledge.