Assessing adolescent vulnerability to cult affiliation
Marcus, Carol S.
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This study focuses on the issue of adolescent vulnerability to joining cults by investigating whether representative characteristics of cults members are identifiable in adolescents prior to group joining, and further, whether subject's typical styles of coping with problems and stress reveals any further indication of potential vulnerability of cult affiliation. 65 high school students participated in the study and were given a battery of tests including a demographic questionnaire, the Interpersonal Support Evaluation List (ISEL), the Bronfenbrenner Parent Behavior Questionnaire (BPB), a major and recent life events scale and a coping inventory scale. A number of subjects showed weakness in areas characteristic of former cult members, however no larger related coping styles were identified. Difficulties in assessing vulnerability were discussed and suggestions made in order to further understand the dynamics of vulnerability.