Attitude toward Christianity among secondary school pupils in Northern Ireland: shifts in denominational differences

Leslie J. Francis, Mandy Robbins, Christopher Alan Lewis, L. Philip Barnes, Tania Ap Siôn

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Background Northern Ireland is a province that remains deeply divided between Protestants and Catholics and maintains a segregated system of schools. Purpose The research builds on a series of studies conducted in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s to monitor the attitude toward Christianity of males and females educated in Protestant and Catholic schools. Sample A sample of 2359 16- to 18-year-old pupils attending Catholic and Protestant schools in Northern Ireland. Design and methods A random sample of seven Protestant and nine Catholic schools invited all pupils attending their lower and upper sixth-form classes to participate in the survey and to complete the Francis scale of attitude toward Christianity. Results The data demonstrate that, while males attending Catholic schools maintained a more positive attitude towards Christianity than males attending Protestant schools, females attending Catholic schools reported a less positive attitude toward Christianity than females attending Protestant schools. These findings are compared with studies conducted during the 1970s and 1980s when both males and females attending Catholic schools recorded a more positive attitude toward Christianity than their peers attending Protestant schools. Conclusions Repeated cross-sectional studies of this nature help to profile the changing religious climate of Northern Ireland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalEducational Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudes
  • Christianity
  • Denominational differences
  • Northern Ireland
  • Secondary school pupils


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