Hartford Institute Logo
Hartford Institute Site Map Hartford Seminary

Hartford Seminary
The Web

A Quick Question 

Does Religion Shape Movie Viewing Habits 
for Teens?

The quick answer: 
  In many ways, yes!

The longer answer:   According to researchers with the National Study of Youth and Religion, religious tradition appears to have some relationship to the movie viewing habits of U.S. teenagers. Only 17 percent of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 who say their religious faith is extremely important in shaping how they live their daily lives report that all or most of the movies and videos they watch are R-rated.  In contrast, 48 percent of teens who say that religious faith is not important at all in shaping how they live their daily lives report that all or most of the movie and videos they watch are R-rated.  Less than 1 percent of teens surveyed reported watching no movies.  Read the entire story at their website at www.youthandreligion.org.

The National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) is thought to be the most extensive sociological research projects on youth and religion ever undertaken. Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and based at the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NSYR is under the direction of Dr. Christian Smith, Stuart Chapin Distinguished Professor and associate chair of sociology.  The purpose of the project is to research the shape and influence of religion and spirituality in the lives of U.S. adolescents; to identify effective practices in the religious, moral, and social formation of the lives of youth; to describe the extent to which youth participate in and benefit from the programs and opportunities that religious communities are offering to their youth; and to foster an informed national discussion about the influence of religion in youth's lives, in order to encourage sustained reflection about and rethinking of our cultural and institutional practices with regard to youth and religion. 

More than 3,350 teens along with one of their parents participated in the random-digit-dial telephone study of U.S. parent-teen pairs.  In an effort to reach minority populations, the survey over-sampled Jewish households and was also available in a Spanish language version.  In the second phase of the study, NSYR researchers conducted in-depth personal interviews with more than 250 teen survey respondents. This technique provides a direct link between the survey and interview answers, both to prepare better for the interview by studying survey responses and to understand better the survey responses in light of the interview results. Interview subjects also were sampled by religion, race, geographic region of residence, and type of school attending to gather enough data representing a broad variety of youth. 

Researchers with the study are also maintaining contacts with youth survey respondents who have agreed to future contact for a possible second-wave longitudinal survey in coming years.  For more information, visit www.youthandreligion.org and sign up to receive free updates on NSYR findings.      

For articles, research, and suggested links on this topic, visit the Religion and Family section of this web site.


Return to the Quick Question archive



Hartford Seminary
77 Sherman Street
Hartford, CT 06105
© 2000 - 2006 Hartford Seminary, Hartford Institute for Religion Research