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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2001 December;53(6):567-76


language: Italian

Adolescents and religion. The risk of a religiosity without transcendence

De Toni T., Bruschettini M.


We studied the religiosity of adolescents, taking into consideration both the Italian and American literature. Religious beliefs and practices are neither required nor appreciated by governmental institutions. They only belong to our inner self, where they become important if supported by personal and conscious conviction.
In the USA 80% of youth (15-19 years) believe that God exists and in the divinity of Jesus, but only 18% attend weekly religious services. Females show greater involvement in the services and stronger closeness to God. However, the majority is made up of people who neither face religious issues nor break clearly with religion. Several studies have shown that religious involvement is associated with a diminished risk of behavioral problems, higher levels of school attainment and professional competence. Religion helps people deal with stress by means of mechanisms that are not yet clear. About 74% of committed catholics do volunteer work at least monthly, vs only 25% of non-believers.
Attaining a full religious experience requires a period of criticism, and belonging to a church or to church related educational groups seems to be important.
In Italy, over 95% of primary school students choose to study catholicism and attending catechism in church is also very widespread. The role that the catholic religion plays in encouraging religious socialization is noteworthy. Italian society acknowledges that the societal services provided by the church are useful, though this may lead to making full religious experiences less possible.

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