National Study of Youth and Religion
National Study of Youth and Religion National Study of Youth and Religion National Study of Youth and Religion  
Research Study
Contact Us

Minority Groups

Zacharioudakis, Manos Antonis. 1999. "Problem Behaviors of Greek-American Adolescents: The Relationship of Ethnic Identification to Risks and Protective Factors." Ph.D. Thesis, St. John's University (New York).
Abstract:In a cross-sectional study of 257 Greek-American (GA) adolescents from across the US (ages 16-19, 72% female, 93% USA born) the incidence and psychosocial corrlates of problem behaviors (PB) (i.e. smoking, drinking, marijuana, heavy drugs, sexual intercourse, deviant behaviors) were explored. Jessor and Jessor's Problem Behavior Theory's (PBT) generalizability in this population were examined. Differences in PB incidence, risks, and predictors, explored through correlational and multiple regression analyses, across GA ethnic identification, gender, and school status (i.e. high school-college) were found. The findings generally supported PBT. Strong positive intercorrelations among all PB, all (but one) positive intercorrelations among prosocial behavior, and all negative correlations of PB with prosocial behavior, and all negative correlations of PB with prosocial behaviors were documented, as hypothesized. The "one latent factor of general deviance" hypothesis found support for males, but not for females or the total sample. Higher Greek-identified youth showed higher drinking, smoking, and deviance, and lower marijuana/drug use and sexual experience scores, compared to lower Greek-identified youth, but these differences were due to SES differences and disappeared when SES factors were partialled out. Family cohesiveness showed protective main effects for most PB but no interaction with ethnicity effects. Family adaptability failed to show any significant effects. Significant gender differences were found: males showed higher marijuana, alcohol use, deviance scores, and sexual promiscuity and less diet/laxative pill use that females (no smoking or heavier drug use gender differences were found). Females showe higher levels of religiosity, stressful events and psychopathology (i.e. anxiety and general symptomatology, but not depression). College students showed higher scores for most PB (except heavy drugs or deviance). Youth from non-intact parental marriages showed significantly higher levels of all PB while intact family incidence showed a positive correlation to Greek ethnic identity. In predicting the total sample's PBindex, in decreasing order, friends' regular engagement In smoking/drinking/marjuana use/sex, time going to bed on weekends, stressful life events, relative parent-friend influence, non-acceptance of premarital sex by youth, intolerance of deviance, parental approval of PB, and age, were the significant predictors. Significant differences in predictors were found among ethnic, gender, and college-status subgroups (e.g. a high contribution of PBT "personality" variables only for high Greek identifiers, of family cohesion for females, and of "perceived environment" factors--i.e. friends models and parental controls--for males). [Source: DA]

Kirmayer, L. J., L. J. Boothroyd, and S. Hodgins. 1998. "Attempted Suicide among Inuit Youth: Psychosocial Correlates and Implications for Prevention." Canadian Journal of Psychiatry-Revue Canadienne De Psychiatrie vol. 43, pp. 816-822.
Abstract: Objective: To identify potential risk and protective factors associated with attempted suicide among Inuit youth, a population known to have a high rate of both attempted and completed suicide in recent years, Method: A secondary analysis of data on 203 Inuit youth (aged 15 to 24 years) from a random community survey conducted by Sante Quebec in 1992. Factors previously, identified in the literature and ill clinical consultation and ethnographic research were tested with bivariate statistics and logistic regression models for each gender. Results: At the bivariate level positive correlates included substance use (solvents, cannabis, cocaine), recent alcohol abuse evidence of a psychiatric problem, and a greater number of life events in the last year. Regular church attendance was negatively associated with attempted suicide. Multivariate analysis indicated that a psychiatric problem, recent alcohol abuse, and cocaine or crack use were the strongest correlates of attempted suicide for females, while solvent use and number of recent life events were the strongest correlates for males. Conclusions: Suicide prevention programs can be targeted at youth who are using substances, particularly solvents, cocaine, and alcohol, have psychiatric illness, and have experienced recent negative life events. Involvement in church or other community activities may reduce the risk for suicide. Consideration of gender differences may allow more precise identification of those at risk for attempted suicide. [Source: SC]

Condos, Athena Sophia. 1997. "The Greek Language School as a Transmitter of Ethnicity: A Study of Linguistic, Cultural, and Religious Maintenance." Ph.D. Thesis, The University of Connecticut.
Abstract: This study assessed the role of the Greek language school in relation to the linguistic, cultural and religious maintenance of the ethnic parish in which it operates. The study examined the following issues: the Greek school and its relations to the continuity of Greek identity; the linguistic and extralinguistic goals of the Greek school, the relationship between the school and the Greek Orthodox Church; and whether the school responds to parental aspirations. The general goal of the study was to determine whether the Greek language school is the basic vehicle of linguistic, cultural and religious maintenance of the Greek American community. A qualitative study was designed to determine participants' perceptions of the role of the Greek language school. The methods utilized in the study were, participant observation, focus groups, interviewing and questionnaires. The study took place at two Connecticut Greek language schools over a period of seven months. There were five focus group sessions, thirteen interviews, thirty adult questionnaire responses and sixteen adolescent questionnaire responses. Adolescent students' questionnaires attempted to assess the attitudes of the new generation of Greek Americans towards the Greek language, which in this study were found to be positive. The study focused on the adult participants who were divided in four categories: parents, teachers, administrators, and parish priests. The role of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, as well as the role of the Greek American volunteer associations, and the role of the Greek Ministry of Education in relation to the operation of the Greek school were also examined. The findings of the study indicated that adult participants believed the Greek language school to be the basic transmitter of the Greek language and culture to the younger generation of Greek Americans. The continuous use of the Greek language in the liturgy was found to be very important to linguistic continuity. It is recommended that the Greek language schools, utilize new methods of second language teaching, as well as available computer technology. To continue to be successful, all interested organizations should unite their resources and produce relatively uniform guidelines for the operation of all the afternoon Greek language schools. [Source: DA]

Gibbs, Rhonda L. 1996. "Teaching Agape: Development of a Bi-Cultural Orientation Course to Reduce Racial Prejudice." D.Min. Thesis, Oral Roberts University.
Abstract: This study addressed the issue of teaching agape to a bi- cultural group of church youth with a view to reduce racial prejudice. The research hypothesis stated that if these bi-ethnic youth are given a clear understanding and a consistent demonstration of God's agape love, then some racial prejudice will be diminished. The project involved three groups of high school students, from different church youth groups in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first group had six youth, the second five, and the third seven. Each group had six sessions in two weekends. The researcher led the meetings of all three groups, along with the help of several volunteers. Every session was comprised of three sections: a teaching on agape, an activity, and a workshop. A Situational Attitude Scale (SAS), which had five statements with ten different attitudinal responses for each of the five statements, was administered as a pretest and posttest. Course evaluations were collected from all the participants, and a comparison made between the pretest and posttest scores of all three groups. The results showed an increase in the posttest scores, which indicated a decrease in racial prejudice in all the participants, with the exception of one. A suggestion for doing a similar implementation of the project was that the project leader needed to develop a rapport with the youth's parents, in order to get more students to participate. A second suggestion for better implementation was to change the terms agape to a psychological term, like "unconditional positive regard," in order to take the ministry project into school systems and businesses. This would help to reduce racial prejudice not only in the church, but in all the world. [Source: DA]

Kirmayer, L. J., M. Malus, and L. J. Boothroyd. 1996. "Suicide Attempts among Inuit Youth: A Community Survey of Prevalence and Risk Factors." Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica vol. 94, pp. 8-17.
Abstract: Thr prevalence of and risk factors fur attempted suicide and suicidal ideation were examined with a survey of 99 Inuit, aged 14-25 years, residing in a community in Northern (Quebec. A total of 34+ACU- of survey respondents reported a previous suicide attempt, and 20+ACU- had attempted suicide more than once. A suicide attempt had resulted in injury in about 11+ACU- of those surveyed. The prevalence of suicidal ideation was also very high: 43+ACU- of subjects reported past thoughts of suicide, and 26+ACU- had had suicidal thoughts during the month before the survey. Risk factors for suicide attempts included male gender, having a friend who had attempted or committed suicide, a history of being physically abused, a history of solvent abuse, and having a parent with an alcohol or drug problem. Protective factors included a family history of having received treatment Eor a psychiatric problem, more frequent church attendance, and a high level of academic achievement. While individuals in the community who are at high risk for suicide can be targeted for preventive measures, the high prevalence and effect of family problems on likelihood of suicide attempts indicate the need fur family- and community-based approaches. [Source: SC]

Benson, M. D. and E. J. Torpy. 1995. "Sexual Behavior in Junior-High School Students." Obstetrics and Gynecology vol. 85, pp. 279-284.
Abstract: Objective: To evaluate the association between 14 demographic variables and the loss of virginity in a specific sample of junior high school students in Chicago. Methods: Nine hundred seventy-six students in nine Chicago junior high schools, sixth through eighth grades, were given an anonymous behavior survey (the noncognitive assessment survey). Two separate logistic regression equations were used to determine the relative relationships of the demographic variables to self-reported virginity loss. Results: Five variables were significantly associated with virginity loss in both regression equations. In rank order, they were gender, ethnic group, pubertal status, suicidal ideation, and sibling number (adjusted odds ratio 13.3, 4.57, 3.38, 1.93, and 1.24, respectively.) Nine variables did not have a consistent relation with early sexual activity: church attendance, religious affiliation, grade average, housing status, marital status of natural parents, self-esteem, sex education knowledge, school attendance, and chronologic age. Conclusions: These results call into question two widely held assumptions that form the foundation of many teen pregnancy prevention efforts. First, although many believe that sex education courses can affect behavior, we found no link, either positive or negative, between knowledge of reproductive biology and age of first intercourse. Second, self-esteem level was not associated with age of first intercourse. The variables that did seem related to early sexual activity do not lend themselves to easy manipulation. Our findings suggest that current school-based efforts to alter teen pregnancy rates and sexual behavior are unlikely to succeed. [Source: SC]

Pejovic, Zoran. 1989. "Boulevard of Dreams: Croatians and Education in Ontario." Ph.D. Thesis, York University (Canada), Toronto.
Abstract: This study examined the effects of a select number of variables associated with educational aspirations. We discovered the effects that such variables as, "Socio-Economic Origin", "Gender", "Religious Origin", "Regional Origin", "Peer Influence", "Parental Influence", "Self-Concept", "Perception of Opportunity", had on the formation of educational aspirations among Croatian High School students in Toronto and vicinity. The sample consisted of 127 subjects of Croatian origin. As it was difficult to arrive at a random sample, the author relied on a purposive sample. A number of voluntary Croatian Youth Organizations, including Croatian students attending Croatian Heritage Language classes. Church Youth Groups, and Croatian Folklore and Tambouritza Ensembles were approached. As such, the sample may not necessarily representative of the Croatian High School students in general, however, they could be characterized as Croato-centric, that is, a group of strong culturally-bound Croatian youth. This study is a cross-sectional survey. The statistical procedures employed were Cross-Tabular analysis and Regression analysis. The author found that Croatian High School students have extremely high aspirations. Most compellingly, it was observed that "Socio-Economic Origin" variables (father's occupation, father's education, mother's education, mother's occupation and gender) did not have an impact on educational aspiration-formation among Croatian adolescents. This finding was incongruous to a number of Canadian and American studies. Consequently, in analyzing the impact of psycho- demographic variables, it was once again observed that, on the whole, Croatian adolescents were attracted to university education in overwhelming numbers. The author strongly believes that for Croatians, culture and ethnic identity influenced this, as well as the major findings of the present study. The implications of this study are that if ethnic children, in general, and Croatians, in particular, show an interest in post-secondary education, then the educational decision makers (teachers, guidance counsellors) should be sensitive to ethno-cultural differences, and work towards optimising every child's educational potential. The author concludes that there are numerous obstacles to university access. If the reasons for these obstacles disfavours ethnically or economically disadvantaged groups, then any notion of equalized access will become nothing more than an educational dream. [Source: DA]

Cooksey, Elizabeth Constance. 1988. "Outcome of Adolescent First Premarital Pregnancies: The Influence of Family Background." Ph.D. Thesis, Brown University.
Abstract: This research focuses upon how aspects of family background influence how adolescents in the United States resolve a first premarital pregnancy. Comparatively sparse attention has been paid to adolescent premarital pregnancy resolution, and previous studies that have addressed the issue have been flawed by a number of common problems. Often all three choices (abortion, out-of-wedlock parenthood, or marriage to legitimate the birth) have not been modelled as separate outcomes, and when this has been done, the data used have not been from a national sample precluding nationwide generalizability of results. In this research, data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth are utilized which provide a sufficiently large case base, and a diversity of racial/ethnic, religious and family structure backgrounds. Most importantly, these data reflect a conscious effort to collect quality abortion reports and thus enable the three pregnancy outcome choices to be segregated from one another, but simultaneously modelled. Pregnancies occurring between February 1973 and March 1982 are included in the analysis. Multinomial logistic regression is performed to analyze these data since the dependent variable of pregnancy outcome is comprised of three categories. The independent variables utilized (age at first conception, religious affiliation, race/ethnicity, parental education, family structure, and number of siblings), measure a number of family background characteristics hypothesized to effect how the adolescent resolves her first premarital pregnancy. All of the predictor variables (excluding religious affiliation when not modelled as part of an interaction term with race/ethnicity) were found to be significant predictors of adolescent premarital pregnancy resolution. Some, for example, race/ethnicity, parental education and number of siblings, were found to be especially powerful. The findings of this study may be put to good use in helping to pinpoint areas where services such as counselling to aborters, and provision of advice, and material goods to adolescent parents may be best provided. [Source: DA]

National Study of Youth and Religion

The National Study of Youth and Religion, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., is under the direction of Dr. Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Lisa Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.