The significance of religion in advancing a culturally sensitive approach towards child maltreatment

Ron Shor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Religion is a dimension that can have a significant effect on child-rearing beliefs and parenting behaviors, and consequently on parents' approach toward child maltreatment. This potential effect can be explained by Kohn's (1963) hypothesis about the relationship between values, a significant component of religion, and child-rearing practices. This subject has been examined in a study that was the first of its kind on ultra-orthodox Jewish families in Israel. The findings provide preliminary knowledge on the major influence that the religious dimension and its related collectivist norms have in this area. A semi-structured questionnaire, which included fourteen vignettes of abuse and neglect situations, was utilized to interview fifty families. The findings indicate that the rationale given by parents for their expectations from children and their perceptions of which child-rearing practices are acceptable and which are not were based mainly on religious values and norms. Religion also has an effect on whom the families are willing to involve and to what extent. These results emphasize the necessity for cultural sensitivity when working with families in their own social context when child maltreatment has occurred.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)400-409
Number of pages10
JournalFamilies in Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998


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