Religion and parental values in a secularized country: Evidence from the Netherlands

I.J.P. Sieben, L.C.J.M. Halman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The authors explore the impact of religion on two key parental values – obedience and autonomy – in contemporary Dutch society, one of the most secularized countries in the world. Three main religious dimensions are investigated: belonging (religious denomination), behaving (church attendance) and believing (traditional beliefs about God). In analysing survey data from the 2008 European Values Study in the Netherlands, it was found that religious dimensions appear to be significant attributes of parental values. Furthermore, denominational differences in both autonomy and obedience can be explained by church attendance (network mechanism), whereas differences in autonomy can partly be explained by transcendental beliefs (moral mechanism). However, the heterogeneity of the religious population in the Netherlands makes conclusions anything but straightforward and sometimes contrary to theoretical expectations.
Keywords: autonomy, belief in God, church attendance, denominations, obedience, parental valuesMot-clésautonomie, croyance en Dieu, dénominations, fréquentation à l’église, obéissance, valeurs parentales
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-140
JournalSocial Compass
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • autonomy
  • belief in God
  • church attendance
  • denominations
  • obedience
  • parental values
  • autonomie
  • croyance en Dieu
  • frequentation a l'eglise
  • obeissance
  • valeurs parentales


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