There are few studies that are able to chart the ways in which the religious beliefs and practices of parents and their offspring vary over time, and are able to map this onto their their physical and mental health. This project will take advantage of the data collected by the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), by adding to the wealth of data already collected on over 10,000 families by incorporating details of the religious beliefs and practices of the study children in early adulthood, as well as of their parents some 30 years after the first measures of religious belief and practices were obtained. As a result of this proposal, the same questions on religion will be administered to all three family members, together with other details of their personality and lifestyle in order to prepare the information that will be needed to undertake detailed analyses of associations of religion with health, with appropriate confounders and mediators. A particular focus will involve assessing whether religion has a beneficial role to play in encouraging resilience subsequent to traumatic circumstances, particularly during childhood.
This funding will pay for 10 pages of the questionnaires to be administered to each parent, and to their offspring. The information will be linked to the detailed life histories of each of the individuals and then be available to bona fide researchers throughout the world for the foreseeable future. The collection of such data will enable an understanding of ways in which religion plays a part in the lives of multicultural Britain, and will be used to examine whether it has a positive or negative role to play in aspects of physical and mental health during childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Conversely, the data will be available for analyses to determine whether the occurrence of an illness results in changes in belief or religious practices.