Date of Award

Summer 2008

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Grych, John

Second Advisor

Gerdes, Alyson

Third Advisor

Saunders, Stephen


The goal of this study was to bring together two bodies of research. The psychological study of religion has identified numerous outcomes for individuals and families that are correlated with religious involvement or commitment, such as well-being, marital satisfaction, and favorable parenting. However, little is known about how or why religion may be linked to such outcomes. A current direction in the psychology of religion is to go beyond general correlations between religious commitment and psychological outcomes to try to understand what specific aspects of religion may explain these correlations. The present study sought to expand the understanding of the link between religion and parenting by simultaneously testing the two most commonly cited hypotheses for religious influences on parenting, namely, sanctification of parenting and religious social support. The second body of research examined in this study is the parenting literature. A large number of studies have identified the key dimensions of parenting that are linked to beneficial outcomes in children and adolescents, namely, responsiveness, demandingness, and psychological autonomy. Current parenting research has the focus of identifying how parents arrive at their parenting approaches and the factors that motivate and sustain such favorable parenting. Two key factors are believed to be parenting motivation and emotional regulation on the part of parents. The current study sought to bring these concepts in contact with the religion and parenting literature by examining whether the association between sanctification/social support and parenting might be mediated by parenting motivation and/or emotional regulation.



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