Family Size and Adolescent Functioning in the Orthodox Jewish Community: Parental Reports of Social and Emotional Functioning, Parenting and Integration
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Inspired by recent reports about the increased size of Orthodox Jewish families, the current study investigated the correlation between family size and parental report of the social and emotional functioning of adolescents within the contemporary Orthodox Jewish community in the United States. Since Orthodox Jews' value priorities are distinctly different from those of the surrounding society regarding family and education, this paper explored whether increased family size -- that previous research associated mostly with negative characteristics (e.g. neglect of children, academic difficulties, delinquency and social isolation) -- correlates with these negative characteristics within Orthodox Jewish families. This study is a quantitative secondary analysis of data collected for research conducted by Cahn (2012). The data was gathered from Orthodox Jewish parents (N=577) using an anonymous web survey. This dataset was analyzed with statistical software for social sciences (SPSS). The study concluded that, contrary to expectations, number of children in a family and parent's religious background does not make a difference. At the same time chaotic parenting style and community integration does. Parents who reported very low level of chaotic parenting style also reported significantly less emotional and behavioral difficulties in their adolescents compared to moderate or high levels of chaotic parenting, and better community integration corresponded to lower means in all four tested variables. Similarly the study found that adolescents' ability to achieve or persevere was significantly lower when parents' rigidity level was high compare to adolescents whose parents' rigidity level was very low.;Keywords: Orthodox Jewish, large families, parenting style, community integration.