Questions Left Unaddressed by Religious Familism: Is Spirituality Relevant to Nontraditional Families?

Annette Mahoney and Elizabeth J. Krumrei

in The Oxford Handbook of Psychology and Spirituality

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199729920
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Questions Left Unaddressed by Religious Familism: Is Spirituality Relevant to Nontraditional Families?

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Given the growing pluralism in family structures, this chapter highlights the role of religion and spirituality in the formation and maintenance of diverse types of families. We outline commonalities and differences that exist among major world religions about forming and maintaining family relationships. Consistent with the predominant conceptual model called religious familism, most research on faith and family life focuses on traditional families (i.e., married heterosexual couples with biological children). We summarize findings on these families that largely assess spirituality indirectly via markers of religious participation (e.g., religious affiliation, attendance, salience). We then review in more detail research on spirituality within nontraditional families, focusing on families comprised of cohabitating couples, same-sex couples, and single parenthood because these nontraditional families have received the most, albeit limited, empirical attention. Given evidence of the interdependence of religion and traditional family forms, research is needed to determine the relevance of spirituality for nontraditional families.

Keywords: cohabitation; couples; homosexuality; family; marriage; parenting; religion; same-sex couples; spirituality

Article.  12221 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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