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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Aug 16;16(16). pii: E2947. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16162947.

Are Adolescent Religious Attendance/Spirituality Associated with Family Characteristics?

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Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacký University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacký University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Prague College of Psychosocial Studies, Hekrova 805, 149 00 Prague 11, Czech Republic.
Faculty of Physical Culture, Institute of Active Living, Palacký University Olomouc, 771 11 Olomouc, Czech Republic.
Department of Community and Occupational Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.
Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and Health, P.J. Safarik University in Kosice, 040 11 Kosice, Slovak Republic.


The family environment is associated with religiosity and spirituality as well as many aspects of adolescent lives, including their health behaviour. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess family environment associations with adolescent religious attendance (RA), i.e., weekly participation in religious services, and spirituality in a highly secular country. A nationally representative sample (n = 4182, 14.4 ± 1.1 years, 48.6% boys) of Czech adolescents participated in the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children cross-sectional study. RA, spirituality and the family environment, i.e., family communication, perceived emotional support, and parental monitoring, were measured. Higher adolescent RA was associated with lower self-reported easiness of communication with mother (odds ratio (OR) = 0.68; 99% confidence interval (99% CI) = 0.47-0.99; p < 0.01). In contrast, spiritual respondents were more likely to report both easier communication with their father (OR per standard deviation (SD) change = 1.12, 99% CI 1.02-1.23; p < 0.01) and mother (OR per SD change = 1.38 (1.23-1.55); p < 0.001) and higher perceived emotional support (OR per SD change = 1.73 (1.55-1.92); p < 0.001). Parents of respondents who attended religious services at least once a week, as well as parents of spiritual respondents, were generally more likely to monitor adolescent behaviour. Thus, this study provides information for parents, mental health workers, and pastoral carers. Further research should assess the association of a lower easiness of family communication with dissonances in adolescent-parent religiosity/spirituality and with higher parental monitoring.


adolescent; communication; emotional support; family; parental monitoring; religion; spirituality

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