The following is an excerpt from Families and Faith: How Religion is Passed Down Across Generations by Vern L. Bengston with Norella m. Putney and Susan Harris ( Oxford University Press, 2013):
How have the dynamics of intergenerational relationships about religion changed over the thirty-five years since the beginning of this study [which began with Baby Boomers, their parents, and their grandparents in 1970]? In the context of the many demographic and cultural changes that have occurred during the time between then and now—increases in marital instability and single parenting, a growing cultural emphasis on individualism, declining adherence to religious traditions, media-driven youth cultures—has there been a significant change in the degree to which families exert influence in the religious orientations of younger generation members?
Changes in American Society
During the 117 years represented by the birth dates of family members in this study, many events have combined to change the nature of American Society. Wars, disruptive economic trends, globalization and technological innovations, changes in culture and political values—these and more have altered the lives of successive generations of study participants. Many of the oldest immigrated to the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century; subsequently, they experienced the massive cultural and economic ups and downs of World War I, the Roaring Twenties era of prosperity, and the subsequent economic devastation of the Great Depression. [Rest.]