Sex, ethnic, and social class differences in parareligious beliefs among israeli adolescents

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The primary goal of the present study was to ascertain the prevalence of parareligious beliefs (e.g., divination, astrology, evil eye, knock on wood) among Israeli adolescents. An inventory of superstitious beliefs was constructed, pretested, and then administered to 559 adolescents, 12 to 16 years old, from six junior high schools in northern Israel. Students were asked to indicate on a 3-point scale their belief in 30 commonly held superstitions and to mark those items previously known to them. The sample was large enough to permit reliable comparisons among sex, age, and sociocultural groups. The data indicated that both middle-class students and students of European extraction were familiar with a significantly higher number of parareligious beliefs, on average, when compared to their lower-class and Eastern counterparts, respectively. The former groups held fewer such beliefs, on average, however, when compared to the latter. In addition, adolescent males held fewer parareligious beliefs, on average, than females. Although the foregoing data are consistent with findings in other cultures, it was observed that age correlated positively with the number of beliefs held, a finding peculiar to Israeli society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-343
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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