Magazine article USA TODAY
Influence Is Strong on Mother-Child Bond
When religion is an important part of a mother's life, she is likely to feel she has a better relationship with her adult children, and they are likely to report having a better relationship with her. That is one of the findings from a study of 867 women and their offspring, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and conducted over a period of 23 years by University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers. Women who attend religious services on a regular basis report having better relationships with their adult children than mothers who rarely or never attend services, but their offspring are not more likely to report having better relationships with them, note William G. Axinn and Lisa D. Pearce, sociologists at the university's Institute for Social Research.
All of the mothers were married when they were first interviewed, and all initially lived in the Detroit metropolitan area. Eleven percent described themselves as conservative Protestants, 30% as nonconservative Protestants, 54% as Catholics, and five percent as other, including Jewish. The researchers controlled for mother's age, family size, parents' marital quality, and many other characteristics--including parents' education, income, and marital status--that might influence the quality of the relationship between mother and child. …