Based on the idea of a person-religion fit, this study deals with the role of early familial antecedents for choosing a new religious movement (NRM). New members of three NRMs in Germany (a Pentecostal parish, the New Apostolic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses; N = 71) were compared to each other in regard to the variables of loss of a parent, number of siblings, and birth order position. Statistical analysis revealed differences between the three groups regarding loss of a parent and trends for the number of siblings. The most striking finding was that 43 percent of the new New Apostolic members had lost their father (compared to 10 percent of the Pentecostals and 23 percent of Jehovah's Witnesses). Differences between the groups are discussed with a focus on the groups' specific structures and theologies. Overall, the idea of a person-religion fit proved to be useful for the study of biographical variables, although theoretical and empirical problems of the fit model still need to be solved. Further research on early family experiences and person-religion fit is encouraged. The need to investigate coping-related aspects is emphasized.
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