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YPIE Scientist: Cristina Mateo

Updated: May 24, 2021

Research: How Religiosity Affects the Emotional Well-Being of Teens

Awards: Westlake 2018 Participant, JSHS 2019, 2020 Participant, WESEF 2021 Participant

Mentor: Dr. Shannon Daugherty

Research Location: Yonkers, NY


Being raised in a religious environment can contribute to an identity crisis between sexual desires and religious beliefs for those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. Social environments have a strong correlation between suicidal tendencies in bisexual, lesbian, gay youth. Results showed that teens who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual had a 20% higher chance of attempting suicide in unsupportive environments compared to supportive environments (Hatzenbuhler, 2011). From June of 2020 to November of 2020, I collected anonymous data from 2 part multiple-choice surveys done by parents and their teenagers. The surveys used two scales, one called the Religious Commitment Inventory-10 Scale (RCI-10) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Score (HADS). Demographic questions were also in the survey, questions such as asking their age and their gender, etc. The first scale was used in the first part of the survey intended for the parents and measured their commitment and how their religion influences their decisions. Both scales are in the form of questions and provide numbers that the choices equate to. The second scale is used to measure the severity of the teen’s anxiety and depression with 14 questions. The 14 questions alternate with a question measuring anxiety and another measuring depression. I used the Pearson R Test to see the correlation between the parent’s religiosity and their teen’s anxiety and depression total. In the end, 50 families participated and it was apparent that there was a very weak positive correlation between the parents’ religiosity and the teens’ anxiety (0.059) but also a weak negative correlation between the parents’ religiosity and the teens’ depression (-0.118). There was also a higher anxiety average (9.38) in the teens than depression (4.87) and revealed that those who are self-identified as non-straight had a higher average for anxiety (12.18) and depression (7.18) than those who identified as straight.

Presentation Slides

About this Scientist:

Cristina is going to attend University at Buffalo this fall and will be majoring in psychology. She is excited to start the new phase of her life but she will definitely miss the community she has greatly interacted with in Yonkers. She will definitely really miss being close to all of the areas that she grew up around such as Lennon Park, her elementary school and her childhood home but she is excited to make a home at Buffalo. She learned a lot in the STEM program and in YPIE and will use it in the next step of her life.

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