The role of mothers' and fathers' religiosity in African American adolescents' religious beliefs and practices

Linda C. Halgunseth, Alexander C. Jensen, Kari Lyn Sakuma, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Objectives: To advance understanding of youth religiosity in its sociocultural context, this study examined the associations between parents' and adolescents' religious beliefs and practices and tested the roles of parent and youth gender and youth ethnic identity in these linkages. Method: The sample included 130 two-parent, African American families. Adolescents (49% female) averaged 14.43 years old. Mothers, fathers, and adolescents were interviewed in their homes about their family and personal characteristics, including their religious beliefs. In a series of 7 nightly phone calls, adolescents reported on their daily practices, including time spent in religious practices (e.g., attending services, prayer), and parents reported on their time spent in religious practices with their adolescents. Results: Findings indicated that mothers' beliefs were linked to the beliefs of sons and daughters, but fathers' beliefs were only associated with the beliefs of sons. Mothers' practices were associated with youths' practices, but the link was stronger when mothers' held moderately strong religious beliefs. Fathers' practices were also linked to youth practices, but the association was stronger for daughters than for sons. Conclusions: Findings highlight the understudied role of fathers in African American families, the importance of examining religiosity as a multidimensional construct, and the utility of ethnic homogeneous designs for illuminating the implications of sociocultural factors in the development of African American youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-394
Number of pages9
JournalCultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of mothers' and fathers' religiosity in African American adolescents' religious beliefs and practices'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this