Does Religion Create or Address Anxiety in Your Family? Research Says…

This post is second in a series based on videos available in our new BYU Social Sciences YouTube channel! The channel contains highlights of many of our most popular lectures and useful, succinct, research-backed advise on relationship, political, religious, media, and financial issues. Follow us there to stay up-to-date on wisdom that will help you and  your family live better lives.

As we mentioned last week, the exercise of religious faith in a family’s culture looks quite different across religions, families, and time. “What is it about religion that helps some people be incredibly…functional and happy and seems to cause other people some serious issues?,” asked Professor David Dollahite of our School of Family Life in an October 2015 lecture. “How can [the practice of religion cause joy and harm?” Professor Dollahite has spent the last ten years delving into research that answers those questions for the American Families of Faith project, and he presented much of it at that lecture. He and fellow BYU Family Life professor Loren Marks sampled more than 190 families who identified with the following faiths: Asian Christian, Black Christian, Catholic & Orthodox Christian, Evangelical Christian, Mainline Christian, Latter-day Saint Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. They asked them how they felt about ten different “dualities,” or possible dichotomies of their religious practice. They asked, for example, about the extent to which the practice of religion in their families created and addressed anxiety, and the extent to which that practice was both transformative and conservative. In this two-minute video, watch what they found.


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