A Study of Parenting, Religiosity, and Gender

Elisheva Konstam, Pace University


Although approximately 95% of manned American parents report a religious orientation and 60% of married American women and men attend church at least once a month, religiosity has received little attention in the psychological literature. This study sought to help address the gap in the literature and examined the relationships between parenting, religiosity and gender. In particular, this study uses the parent development theory to examine parenting beliefs in conjunction with religiosity and gender. This study was designed to examine level of religiosity in relation to parenting perceptions. Level of religiosity was examined with regard to internal religiosity, individuals' internal relationship with God, and external religiosity, individuals' involvement in external activities, such as church/synagogue attendance and prayer. Additionally, this study considered whether there were differences in parenting perceptions between self-identified religious groups, in particular between Judaism and Christianity. The final aspect of this study examined differences in religiosity based upon gender. The current study involved 287 participants who completed a demographics questionnaire, the Parent Behavior Importance Questionnaire-Revised (PBIQ-R) and the Religiousness Scale. The current study found that internal religiosity was significantly correlated with endorsements of bonding, responsivity, and sensitivity parenting behaviors, but external and overall religiosity were not significantly correlated with these aspects of parenting. Among many findings, this study found a significant correlation between internal religiosity and parental endorsements of discipline. The study also explored similarities and differences between Jewish individuals and Non-Jewish individuals regarding parenting perceptions. There were no significant differences found between Jewish and Non-Jewish individuals regarding their perceptions of the importance of the bonding, general welfare and protection, responsivity, and sensitivity parenting behaviors. However, significant differences were found between the two religious groups with regard to parental perceptions of discipline, education, and negativity. The current study also examined whether there are differences between male and female parents' perceptions of the importance of behaviors associated with the seven parenting role characteristics. This study found that there were significant differences between males' and females' perceptions of parenting behaviors in the areas of bonding, responsivity, sensitivity, and negativity. However, there were no significant differences between genders in relation to discipline, education, and general welfare and protection. Finally, gender differences in level of religiosity were considered. Overall, the current study enhances the recent literature on religiosity and parenting and focuses on an under-researched area of cultural influences on child rearing. The results of the current study are discussed in terms of limitations, implications for research and practice with parents and children, mental health and school psychological service practice, as well as directions for further research.

Subject Area

Religion|Social psychology|Ethnic studies|Judaic studies

Recommended Citation

Konstam, Elisheva, "A Study of Parenting, Religiosity, and Gender" (2011). ETD Collection for Pace University. AAI3446353.



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