The Relationship Between Religion and Intergenerational Solidarity in Eastern and Western Germany

This article investigated the relationship between religiosity and intergenerational solidarity in Germany, with a focus on differences between eastern and western regions that have maintained unique religious profiles that trace back to before unification. Based on data from Wave 6 (2013-2014) of the German Family Panel (pairfam), 8,637 reports from 4,622 adult children about their relationships with mothers and fathers were analyzed. Using an index comprising four dimensions of the intergenerational solidarity model (distance, contact, closeness, and support), hierarchical linear regression demonstrated general support for the hypothesis that having a religious denomination is positively associated with the strength of intergenerational relations in Germany. However, this positive association is stronger in the more religious western part of Germany than in the highly secularized eastern part. These results emphasize the importance of taking social context and political history into account when studying core institutions of religion and families.


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