New research published in the February edition of the Journal of Family Psychology suggests that daughters and mothers who discuss their spiritual beliefs have stronger relationships.

A Midwestern research team asked 130 college-aged women, and their mothers, to complete questionnaires measuring the extent to which they discussed their spiritual or religious beliefs and practices. The researchers also measured the communication patterns, relationship satisfaction, and conflict resolutions strategies between the mothers and daughters.

Results showed that daughters who often discussed their spiritual beliefs with their mothers were more satisfied with their relationship and were less aggressive when trying to resolve conflicts with their mothers. Mothers had the same results with respect to their daughters. The researchers found that these results held even if the mothers and daughters differed on their spiritual views, though most of the women in their study belonged to a Judeo-Christian religious tradition.

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According to the authors, the study suggests it is better for adolescent daughters and their mothers to discuss their spiritual beliefs openly "rather than allow the topic of religion/spirituality to go underground, or adopt a policy of 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

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