Religiosity and socio-economic status as predictors of adolescents’ family models: A multilevel analysis

Mayer, Boris (29 April 2010). Religiosity and socio-economic status as predictors of adolescents’ family models: A multilevel analysis (Unpublished). In: Jacobs Foundation Conference 2010 - "The role of Values and Religion in Youth Development: A Culture-Informed Perspective". Schloss Marbach, Germany. 28.04.-30.04.2010.

Poster Jacobs10final_1.pdf - Presentation
Available under License BORIS Standard License.

Download (97kB) | Preview

This study explores multilevel relations between adolescents’ religiosity and socio-economic status (SES) with their family-related values across 10 cultures. The study is part of the international “Value of Children and Intergenerational Relations”-project (P.I.: Gisela Trommsdorff and Bernhard Nauck). Its theoretical background is Kagitcibasi’s (2007) model of family change, a recent approach in cross-cultural psychology aiming to explain how societal changes affect the family at different levels of analyses. A critical assumption of Kagitcibasi’s model is that when traditional cultures are affected by modernization processes, they need not necessarily develop in direction of the independent Western family model, but may instead develop a family model of emotional interdependence characterized by declining material but continuing emotional interdependencies in the family. While the relation between economic status and family models is an integral part of Kagitcibasi’s theory, religiosity so far has been neglected as a potentially relevant factor for family model formation. In a prior study using the same dataset, Mayer (2009) identified family model value profiles of independence, emotional interdependence, and total interdependence, where the cross-cultural distribution of these value profiles varied strongly. Applying multilevel modelling, the current study aims to predict adolescents’ affiliation to a specific family model by individual-level and culture-level measures of religiosity and socio-economic status.
Method: The study includes n = 2566 adolescents (57% female, age 13-20 years) from China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, South Africa, Switzerland, and Turkey . Since the dependent variable (family model cluster membership) was nominal, hierarchical nonlinear random coefficient models were computed.
Results: 1) Religiosity: Adolescents’ self-reported importance of religion was used as a predictor at the individual level and at the cultural level (aggregated). Results showed that importance of religion was significantly related to family models across cultures at the individual level as well as the cultural level. At both levels, the higher the reported importance of religion, the more likely was the adolescent’s affiliation to the two interdependent family model as compared to the independent family model. While the individual-level relation was relatively weak, the culture-level importance of religion explained 73% of the cross-cultural variation regarding the affiliation to the three family models. 2) SES: Adolescents’ self-reported SES was used as the individual-level predictor and the Human Development Index (HDI) was used as the culture-level predictor . Results showed that while individual-level SES was not significantly related to family models, the culture-level HDI strongly predicted affiliation to the independent as opposed to both interdependent family models, as well as to the emotionally interdependent as opposed to the totally interdependent family model. HDI explained 77% of the cross-cultural variation of adolescents’ family models.
Additional combined analyses showed that the culture-level importance of religion and HDI together explained 87% of the cross-cultural variation of adolescents’ family models.
Conclusion: The current study shows that at the cultural level, both the importance of religion and the socio-economic status of a culture have a strong impact on adolescents’ family models. At the within-culture individual level, importance of religion, but not SES, is related to adolescents’ family-related values. The results suggest that religiosity is an important factor for adolescents’ family orientation deserving greater theoretical and empirical attention in the cross-cultural study of family models.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology, Perception and Methodology

UniBE Contributor:

Mayer, Boris


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology




Boris Mayer

Date Deposited:

28 Oct 2020 15:44

Last Modified:

28 Oct 2020 15:44




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback