The influence of the home and school on the religious socialization of Puerto Rican youth

William Henry Manning, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to focus on the responsiveness of the Catholic school and the home to the religious socialization of Puerto Rican teenagers. This study attempted to examine intergenerational similarities and differences concerning faith development expectations grandparents and parents in the Puerto Rican family had of their adolescent son/daughter who was in his/her senior year of Catholic high school. In addition this study sought to determine to what extent the Puerto Rican family identified with a particular parish, its forms of worship, and its religious traditions. The total sample of the study included 27 persons who were randomly selected from intergenerationally linked Puerto Rican families made up of grandparents, parents, and students (nine persons formed each group) who lived in New York City. Three questionnaires, which were designed for each intergenerational respondent, were used to collect the data. The major findings of this study were: (a) Generally speaking, the differences which were found within the home that had an effect on the religious development of Puerto Rican youth were attributed to family instability, divorce, and an ambivalent attitude of parents toward active teenage sexuality; (b) this study found a high degree of discontinuity between each generation with respect to the influence the home had on the religious development of the youth; (c) the majority of the respondents had a weak identification with their local parish because of divorce and a lack of a sense of belonging; (d) the attitudes of the majority of parents and students toward the religious education program of their respective high schools was very positive and the school proved to be a strong reinforcer of values and student morale. The major conclusions were: (a) Age of arrival in New York City determined the devotional and religious characteristics of the Puerto Rican immigrants in this study; (b) parents who regularly communicated with their children by talking with them about God and by the religious environment they provided in the home positively influenced the religious development of their children; (c) the role of the parents as transmitter of religious faith values was on the decline primarily because of divorce; (d) the reception of the Sacrament of Penance was problematic for each generation of respondents; (e) the Catholic high school met the expectations of the parents with respect to their children's religious development.

Subject Area

School administration|Religious education|Secondary education|Minority & ethnic groups|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Manning, William Henry, "The influence of the home and school on the religious socialization of Puerto Rican youth" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109236.