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Journal Article

The intergenerational transmission of religious services attendance


Publication date



Religious change is often described with aggregate figures on affiliation, practice and belief.Such studies tell us that secularisation happens because each cohort is less religious than the onebefore, and that socialisation in childhood and habits formed in young adulthood are overwhelminglyresponsible for religious decline. In this article we use data from the InternationalSocial Survey Programme to consider the extent and magnitude of religious decline at the levelof families, whether parental influence is greater in more religious countries, and which individualvariables influence the intergenerational transmission of religious practice and whether thesevary between different countries.We find that secularisation happens largely because many peopleare a little less religious than their parents, and relatively few are more religious. We alsofind that the patterns of transmission are remarkably stable: parents are no more influential inreligious countries than in nonreligious countries, and there is no indication that they have lostinfluence over time.

Published in

Nordic Journal of Religion and Society

Volume and page numbers

25 , 131 -150




Demography, Religion, and Social Behaviour



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