Religiosity and mental health of pre-adolescents with psychiatric problems and their parents: The TRAILS study
European Psychiatry , Volume 30 - Issue 7 p. 845- 851
Background: This study investigated the association between the religiosity of parents and pre-adolescents, and pre-adolescents' psychiatric problems. Method: In a clinic-referred cohort of 543 pre-adolescents at least once referred to a mental health outpatient clinic mental health problems were assessed using self-reports (Youth Self-Report; YSR), parent reports (Child Behavior Checklist; CBCL), and teacher reports (Teacher's Report Form; TRF) of child behavioral and emotional problems. Paternal, maternal, and pre-adolescent religiosity were assessed by self-report. MANCOVAs were performed for internalizing and externalizing problems as dependent variables, with maternal religiosity, paternal religiosity, pre-adolescent religiosity, parental religious harmony, and gender as independent variables, and socioeconomic status and divorce as covariates. Results: Internalizing problems. Pre-adolescents of actively religious mothers had more internalizing symptoms than pre-adolescents of nonreligious mothers. Harmony and gender did not significantly affect the association between maternal religiosity and internalizing problems. Externalizing problems. No associations between religiosity of pre-adolescents, religiosity of mothers, religiosity of fathers and/or harmony of parents and externalizing problem behavior have been found. Discussion and conclusions: Overall, associations between mental health and religiosity were modest to absent. Results are discussed in the context of a clinic-referred cohort, the quest phase of internalizing religious beliefs and role modeling of parents.