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Religious Discrimination in Childhood and Adolescence

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Summary The aim of this study was to assess the links between religious discrimination and developmental and contextual variables. Based on the assumption that discrimination results from the interplay of prejudice and moral thinking, discriminatory behaviour was hypothesised to be linked to age, school environment, minority or majority group membership, and parental religious socialisation practices. The results indicate that discrimination is more frequent during childhood than during pre-adolescence or adolescence, more common in homogeneous schools than in heterogeneous schools, and more likely when parents frequently express messages promoting mistrust of other religious groups. Participants from the minority group were more likely to discriminate against their own ingroup than were those from the majority group. Further studies are needed to determine whether these links are correlative or predictive, and to understand the underlying processes of religious discrimination.

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