On religious ambiguity: Childhood family religiosity and adult flourishing in a twin sample. By: Schafer, Markus H. and Upenieks, Laura. 2024. Social Science Research. Vol. 118, pN.PAG-N.PAG.

Ambiguity is an important notion in sociology, denoting situations where social actors and groups carry on without shared meaning. The current article applies this concept to the context of religiosity during people’s upbringing, recognizing that multiple factors make family-level religion a complex experience. Indeed, though recent research portrays household religiosity in childhood as a sociocultural exposure with long-term implications for well-being, existing studies have yet to incorporate multiple inputs to consider the cohesiveness of that exposure. Using twin data from a national sample, we investigate whether consistency in recalled household religiosity is associated with mid-life flourishing. Multi-level linear regression models reveal that similarity in twin reports matter, above and beyond the actual level of religiosity individuals report and net of dis/similarity across other childhood recollections. We conclude that coherence in religious upbringing—whether religion was understood to be important or not—is a key ingredient for thriving later in life and then reflect more broadly on manifestations of sociocultural ambiguity in families and in larger social units.