Autonomous Versus Controlled Religiosity: Family and Group Antecedents

Maria Brambilla, Avi Assor, Claudia Manzi, Camillo Regalia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Self-determination theory distinguishes between identified and introjected internalization of religious practices, positing that the former is experienced as autonomous, whereas the latter is experienced as controlling. A study of Italian Catholic youth showed that identified internalization was predicted by (a) parents' behaviors reflecting basic autonomy support (BAS; behaviors involving perspective taking, choice-provision, and control-minimization), (b) youth-group leader BAS, (c) parents' intrinsic value demonstration (IVD), and (d) peers' IVD. Introjected internalization was predicted by (a) conditional parental regard (CR) and (b) peers' IVD. Perceived parental warmth did not mitigate the effect of CR on introjection. The study underscores the importance of two socializing behaviors rarely studied in the area of religious socialization: IVD and conditional regard. The findings also highlight the harmful nature of CR in the religion domain as a practice for which robust negative effects on internalization cannot be eliminated by more salutary parental behaviors as warmth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-210
Number of pages18
JournalThe International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • General Psychology


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