Examining the Connection between Religion and Attitude toward Socio-Economic Human Rights and Attitude toward Euthanasia and Abortion among Romanian Orthodox Adolescents: Contrasting the Effects of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Religiosity

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Oct 15;18(20):10837. doi: 10.3390/ijerph182010837.


This study examines the complex connection linking religion, social attitudes, and human rights in Romania, drawing on the classic distinction between extrinsic religiosity (as reflected in church attendance) and intrinsic religiosity (as reflected in personal prayer). The hypothesis that these forms of religiosity may function differently in relation to different areas of social attitudes is tested among Romanian Orthodox adolescents (N = 400), drawing on validated measures developed by the International Empirical Research Program Religion and Human Rights 2.0 to assess attitude toward socio-economic human rights and attitude toward euthanasia and abortion. In respect of attitude toward euthanasia and abortion, church attendance and personal prayer work in the same direction and with cumulative effect. Lowest acceptance of euthanasia and abortion is found among young people who attend church and pray. In respect of attitude toward socio-economic human rights, church attendance and personal prayer work in opposite directions. Frequent church attendance (extrinsic religiosity) is associated with lower endorsement of socio-economic human rights. Frequent prayer (intrinsic religiosity) is associated with higher endorsement of socio-economic human rights.

Keywords: abortion; church attendance; euthanasia; human rights; prayer; religious orientation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Attitude
  • Euthanasia*
  • Female
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion*
  • Romania
  • Socioeconomic Factors