Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Bruce Hunsberger

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Do one's religion and authoritarian attitudes affect child-rearing techniques? Research suggests that factors such as religious orientation, educational attainment and authoritarian attitudes of parents are implicated in their child-rearing goals and practices (e.g., Wiehe, 1990). Also, parents' fundamentalist religious orientation is associated with an authoritarian norm of parenting, which involves greater emphasis on obedience and the use of punitive disciplinary practices (Ellison & Sherkat, 1993a; 1993b). 83 mothers and 71 fathers participated in a survey to examine how parents' religious orientation and their endorsement of right-wing authoritarian attitudes are linked to the kinds of goals they establish for their children, and their approval of corporal punishment. A model was developed which hypothesized that while parents' religious fundamentalism would be negatively related to their endorsement of child autonomy, it would be positively linked to stronger desires to keep children in their religious faith, to greater emphasis on obedience and to greater approval of corporal punishment. Also, parents' right-wing authoritarian attitudes should be linked to their fundamentalist religious orientation, as well as a more authoritarian norm of parenting. Results from the zero-order correlations were in keeping with the hypotheses. However, a LISREL path analysis procedure indicated that the relationship between parental religious fundamentalism and emphasis on obedience was indirect, mediated though parental right-wing authoritarian attitudes. Also, the positive relationships obtained between faith-keeping and obedience, as well as approval of corporal punishment, were spurious. Parents' right-wing authoritarianism was a better predictor of their child-rearing attitudes than was religiosity. Religiosity, however, proved important in predicting parents' goal of socializing their children to accept their religious faith.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season