Family environment and modern Orthodox adolescent religious development
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The study was designed to better understand the influence of family environment on the Jewish beliefs and practices of late adolescents. The sample consisted of 227 high school seniors attending six Modern Orthodox Jewish high schools in the New York City metropolitan area. The influence of family was measured using the Family Environment Scale, specifically the subscales of cohesion, expressiveness, conflict, independence, moral-religious emphasis and control. Jewish beliefs and actions were measured using the Jewish Beliefs, Actions and Living Evaluation (JewBALE). It was hypothesized that certain characteristics of the perceived family environment such as attachment, parenting styles, spiritual modeling and the creation of spiritual capital would reflect different influences on religious beliefs and behaviors. Attention was also given to whether adolescent gender was a significant factor in the way these influences were felt. Multiple regression analyses indicated that moral-religious emphasis in the home is the most significant predictor of both beliefs and actions for both males and females. Supplementary analyses indicated that cohesion plays some significant role for male and female actions but not beliefs and that the presence of conflict in the family plays some significant role for male actions but not beliefs. The results confirm for the Modern Orthodox population what has been found in studies of other religious groups; namely, the significant role of socialization in the transgenerational transmission of religious values.