The Association between Parental Religiosity, Stressful Life Events, 
and Problem Behavior in Pre- Adolescents and Adolescents
Willeke van der JAGT-JELSMA Contact / Kontakt / Kapcsolat, Margreet R. de VRIES-SCHOT, Helen KLIP, Patricia A.M. van DEURZEN
EJMH Vol 14 Issue 2 (2019) 296-310;
Received: 6 March 2019; accepted: 31 October 2019; online date: 10 December 2019
Section: Short Communication
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Objective: To investigate whether religiosity influences exposure to stressful life events (SLEs) and whether religiosity moderates the effects of SLEs, resulting in fewer problem behaviors.
Method: The self-reported mental health problems of a community-based longitudinal sample of pre-adolescents (n = 2230) in the three northern provinces of the Netherlands were assessed in early adolescence (12-15 years, Youth Self-Report, YSR) and in adolescence (18-21 years, Adult Self Report ASR). The sum scores for SLEs in early adolescence were based on the previous two years. The variable parental religiosity was based on information obtained in pre-adolescence (10-12 years). Associations between religiosity and SLEs and whether parental religiosity is a moderator between SLEs and problem behaviors were studied, using repeated measures ANOVAs.
Results: Having actively religious parents was associated with fewer SLEs. Parental religiosity did not moderate the association between SLEs and problem behavior. Conclusions: The children of actively religious parents experienced fewer SLEs in pre-adolescence than did the children of non-religious parents or the children of parents with incompatible religious beliefs, but parental religiosity did not moderate the effects of SLEs on problem behaviors. Reasons for the absence of a religious coping effect are discussed.


internalizing problem behavior, externalizing problem behavior, problem behavior, pre-adolescents, adolescents, religion, religiosity, stressful life events

Corresponding author

Willeke van der JAGT-JELSMA
GGZ Drenthe, Hoogeveen, The Netherlands
Dr. G.H. Amshoffweg 3
7909 AA Hoogeveen


Prof. Margreet R. de VRIES-SCHOT: GGZ Christoph, Mental Health Care, Deventer; The Netherlands

Helen KLIP: Karakter Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Center Nijmegen; The Netherlands

Patricia A.M. van DEURZEN: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Center Nijmegen; The Netherlands;

Jan K. BUITELAAR: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry University Center Nijmegen &  Radboud University Medical Center Nijmegen, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience; The Netherlands