What is it about?

More religious parents were found to lie less to manipulate their children’s behaviors. Parents’ telling of white lies, which are told for children’s benefit to protect and enhance children’s feelings, were not related to parents’ levels of religiosity.

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Why is it important?

The research extended the understudied phenomenon of parental lying to a new cultural context—Singapore. This is the first study to find that parents’ level of religiosity influences their lying behaviors. An earlier study did not find such an association in Chinese and American parents (Heyman et al., 2013). This signals a need to examine the specificity of parenting behaviors across different cultures and contexts. We previously found that young adults who recall greater parental lying in childhood were more likely to lie to their parents in adulthood, which was in turn related to their poorer social functioning as adults. Thus parenting by lying may have long term consequences on children’s social and mental wellbeing later in life. Thus it is important to study factors that influence parents’ lying to their children.


Major religions urge their followers to abstain from lying. Thus it was interesting to investigate if being religious has an effect on a moral behavior such as lying.

Peipei Setoh
Nanyang Technological University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Parents with greater religiosity lie less to their children., Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, February 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/rel0000377.
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