, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 72-84
Date: 22 Jan 2010

The Influence of Religiosity and Spirituality on Adolescent Mothers and Their Teenage Children

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Abstract

This project assessed the influence of religiosity and spirituality on the socioemotional and behavioral adjustment of 110 adolescent mothers and their teenage offspring at age 14. Maternal religiosity, measured prenatally and when children were 3, 5, and 8 years of age, was defined as involvement in church as well as contact with and dependence on church officials and members. Levels of spirituality, defined as religious practices and beliefs, were assessed for both mothers and their children at 14 years postpartum. Hierarchical regression analyses suggested that maternal religiosity was a strong predictor of maternal and child adjustment; children’s own spirituality served as a predictor of their socioemotional adjustment as well. Furthermore, child spirituality mediated the relationship between maternal religiosity and children’s externalizing behavior. Implications for designing intervention programs with high risk families are discussed.