Phases of the Project
In the first phase of the project from 2001-2013 we focused on conducting in-depth interviews with about 200 American families from the “Abrahamic faiths” (Christian, Jewish, and Islamic). We chose to begin with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim families because those faiths share some important similarities (shared or similar sacred texts, monotheism, orientation to marriage and family).
We asked married couples about the ways their faith and family lives were linked and how they thought their religious beliefs, practices, and communities influenced their marriages. In about a quarter of the families we also asked parents and adolescent children to talk about how their religious beliefs, practices, and communities influenced parent child relationships, family processes, and youth identity and development.
In order to ensure that the ideas we would share were based on sound social science we spent the first decade of the project publishing articles in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and books. This means that our colleagues in the social sciences reviewed our research and decided the research findings were sound and deserving of being disseminated. In the second phase of our work (2013-) we will continue to write scholarly journal articles but will turn more of our attention to writing a number of books in order to share what we have discovered with a broader audience.
The first of these published books is Religion and Families: An Introduction (2017, Routledge), and the second is Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith: Exploring Religious Differences (2019, Routledge).
Beginning in 2017 we began to broaden out the American Families of Faith project to include relationally strong while religiously unaffiliated families as well as interfaith families. In addition, in order to help fulfill our desire to bless “all the families of the earth” (Gen. 12:3) we share what we have discovered with a worldwide audience through our American Families of Faith website.
Branches of the Project
To summarize, currently the American Families of Faith project includes about 30 in-depth interviews with shared-faith couples or families from each of the following nine religious-ethnic communities and contexts:
Asian Christian Families
Black Christian Families
Catholic & Orthodox Christian Families
Evangelical Christian Families
Hispanic Christian Families
Latter-day Saint Families
Mainline Protestant Families
Religion and Relationships during the Pandemic. A survey of 1,510 American adults about religious and relational changes made during the shutdowns necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
RESTARTS. A survey of 2,000 American adults focused on how religious/spiritual changes and relationship changes impact each other.
Products of the American families of Faith project. In addition to the more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters that have been published based on data from the American Families of Faith project, two books have been focused on our findings:
Religion and Families: An Introduction (2017, Routledge)
Strengths in Diverse Families of Faith: Exploring Religious Differences (2020, Routledge)