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Religious Attendance Moderates the Environmental Effect on Prosocial Behavior in Nigerian Adolescents

  • Yoon-Mi Hur (a1), Hoe-Uk Jeong (a2), Frances Ajose (a3) and Ariel Knafo-Noam (a4)

Abstract

There is a growing body of literature linking religious attendance to prosocial behavior (PB). The main purposes of the present study were to estimate genetic and environmental influences on the frequency of religious attendance (FRA) and to explore whether and how FRA moderates genetic and/or environmental influences on PB. As part of the Nigerian Twin and Sibling Study, 2860 (280 monozygotic male, 417 monozygotic female, 544 dizygotic male, 699 dizygotic female, and 920 opposite-sex dizygotic) twins (mean age = 14.2 years; SD = 1.7 years; age range = 12–18 years) completed a questionnaire regarding FRA and a PB scale. Similar to the findings from western twin samples, FRA showed substantial shared environmental influences of 74% (95% CI = 69%, 78%), with absence of genetic effects. The phenotypic correlation between FRA and PB was modest but positive and significant (r = .12; p < .01), suggesting that PB is higher among more frequent attenders than among less frequent attenders. The results of gene–environment (G × E) interaction model-fitting analysis revealed that FRA changed individual environmental experiences rather than genetic effects on PB such that while genetic variance was stable, non-shared environmental variance declined, leading the total phenotypic variance of PB to decrease with increasing levels of religious attendance.

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Copyright

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is unaltered and is properly cited. The written permission of Cambridge University Press must be obtained for commercial re-use or in order to create a derivative work.

Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Yoon-Mi Hur, Email: ymhur@mokpo.ac.kr

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