Friday, June 04, 2010

Religion and wanting to leave home

The ADD Health Study asked teenagers the following: "How much do you feel that you want to leave home?" Answers ranged from "not at all" (1) to "very much" (5).  Here are means listed by religion:

Mean "want to leave home" score (N = 6,361)

Muslim 2.64
Adventist 2.59
None 2.48
Assemblies of God 2.34
Congregational 2.28
Holiness 2.27
Jehovah's Witnesses 2.25
Jewish 2.24
Disciples of Christ 2.24
Lutheran 2.24
United Church of Christ 2.24
Baptist 2.23

All teens 2.22

Mormons 2.22
Pentecostal 2.22
Catholic 2.12
Methodist 2.11
Presbyterian 2.09
Buddhist 2.07
Episcopal 2.05
Eastern Orthodox 1.95
AME 1.78 

There is a lot there, but let me mention two items. First, I looked into this question because I suspected that Muslim kids were less happy at home than other kids, and the data back me up here. The gap between Muslims and kids from the AME church (a black church) is two-thirds of a standard deviation--a large difference. (I'm a bit surprised that blacks teens like home so much).  

Second, teens with no religion rank third on the wanting-to-leave-home scale. You might expect them to be happier since teens want more freedom, and religion can feel like more restriction on top of ordinary parental restrictions. But there it is.  


  1. Anonymous9:56 AM

    Well, if their parents are religious, there might be a bit of additional friction, and I'm betting that there are a higher proportion of non-religious teens with non-religious parents than there are Eastern Orthodox teens with non-Eastern Orthodox parents.

  2. I assume you meant to write "religious parents", mengbomin.

    Wouldn't have thought of Adventists off the top of my head. Gary Chartier has a multi-part interview on growing up Adventist on youtube. The more interesting part about his childhood as aspiring pen-pal to Pinochet, Ferdinand Marcos and the Shah is left out though.


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