Losing or choosing faith : mother loss and religious change.

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Abstract

Maternal religiosity is often associated with children's religiosity even as children grow into adulthood. However, experiencing the death of one's mother during adolescence or young adulthood may modify the transmission of maternal religiosity across the life course. Drawing on national data on young adults in the United States (1994-1995 and 2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health; Add Health), I find the relationship between maternal religiosity and child religiosity is negative among those whose mother has died. Longitudinal models of child religiosity across more than a decade show that when maternal religiosity is high or strong, mother loss leads to lower predicted levels of child religiosity. When maternal religiosity is low or nonexistent, mother loss leads to higher predicted levels of child religiosity. In total, these findings direct attention to the interaction of mother loss and maternal religiosity as important factors for the transmission of religiosity across generations.

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Sociology. Religiosity. Childhood.
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