God(s) in minds: Understanding deity representation in Christian and Hindu families through social relations modeling.

The purpose of the present research is to evaluate the sources of variation across family members’ cognitive representation of deity figure(s) via social relations modeling (SRM). Using SRM, this study identifies the degree to which family members’ beliefs about the deity are due to differences in the reporting member (actor effects), the member being perceived (partner effects), or the uniqueness of the dyad (relationship effects). The inclusion of American Christian (n = 90) and Indian Hindu (n = 85) families enabled the examination of patterns in two cultures and belief systems (monotheistic vs. polytheistic). SRM permitted the evaluation of actor, partner, and relationship sources of variance regarding deity representations. Similarities were found in deity representations explained by different family roles and dyads among Christian and Hindu families. Findings underscore the interplay of mothers and children in their shared beliefs and understanding of one another’s beliefs. In contrast, fathers’ beliefs tended to reflect only actor and relationship effects. These findings confirm the importance of family relationships in religious socialization, highlighting the prominence of mothers’ religious views. Implications extend to researchers interested in religious socialization and clinicians interested in family processes involving religion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)