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Religiosity, Empathy, and Psychopathology among Young Adult Children of Rabbis

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Rabbis’ children experience unique stresses which may make them particularly susceptible to various forms of psychopathology. Fifty-three rabbis’ children completed questionnaires assessing their frequency of religious service attendance, their reactions towards being a rabbi’s child, empathy levels, depressive, anxious, and disordered eating symptoms. Linear regression analyses were used for the separate outcome variables of depressive, anxiety, and disordered eating symptoms. More dissatisfaction with life as a rabbi’s child was significantly associated with higher levels of depressive, Oral Control, and Bulimia and Food Preoccupation symptoms. Attending services daily was associated with higher levels of anxiety and Oral Control symptoms. Higher empathy levels were associated with higher anxiety, depressive and dieting symptoms. Finally, men demonstrated higher scores for Oral Control and women for Bulimia and Food Preoccupation. Counseling may be useful to aid rabbis’ children who may be challenged with depressive, anxious and disordered eating symptoms.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Marymount Manhattan College New York, NY USA, Email:; 2: Department of Economics, Brooklyn College of the City University of NY Brooklyn, NY USA


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