Adolescents, keeping Secrets from Parents and Spirituality

Adolescents who attend spiritual services more often are less likely to keep secrets from parents, whereas adolescents who believe that spirituality is important are both less likely to lie to parents and keep secrets from parents. Adolescents who attend spiritual services often and believe that spirituality is important are less likely to use alcohol, less likely to have friends that use substances, and are more likely to believe that moral rules should not be broken, which helps to explain why they are less likely to lie to parents and keep secrets from parents.

Importance of Parental Knowledge-

Parental knowledge of adolescent activities, such as knowing what adolescents are doing, where they are going, and whom they are with, has been linked to many beneficial outcomes for adolescents, including lower rates of delinquency and substance. Parental knowledge is also related to several aspects of subjective wellbeing, such as depression, low self-esteem, and stress. Research suggests that parents can increase their knowledge of adolescent activities by fostering loving relationships with their children.

Given the importance of adolescent information management for parental knowledge and the beneficial effects of parental knowledge on a host of adolescent outcomes, researchers have attempted to identify the conditions under which adolescents are more likely to disclose or conceal information from their parents.

  • Are spiritual adolescents less likely to conceal information from their parents by lying and keeping secrets?
  • If spiritual adolescents are less likely to conceal information from their parents, what are the mechanisms that help to explain the relationship between spirituality and lying to parents and keeping secrets from parents?

In addition to self-control, religiosity may also reduce lying to parents and keeping secrets from parents by encouraging a strong sense of morality. Judgements regarding the acceptability of lying to parents and keeping secrets from parents are influenced by moral considerations. Adolescents with a strong sense of morality may find it harder to rationalize or justify lying to their parents or keeping secrets from their parents. In support of this argument, research suggests that adolescent spirituality contributes to a strong sense of morality (i.e., adolescents are more likely to believe that certain behaviors are wrong), which partially explains the effect of religiosity and spirituality on adolescent behaviour.


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