Marriage and Cohabitation

By Arland Thornton; William G. Axinn et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
Religious Affiliation and Commitment

We included in chapters 5 and 6 a brief analysis of the influence of the religious experience of parents and grandparents on young people's entrance into cohabiting and marital unions. Those analyses showed that four different dimensions of the parental family—grandmother's religiosity, parental religious affiliation, a religious marriage ceremony for the parents, and parental religious service attendance—are related in some way to the union-formation process. The primary conclusion of these analyses is that religious participation and commitment in the parent and grandparent generation are connected to lower rates of cohabitation and higher rates of marriage among young adults. Both grandmother religiosity and parents being married by a church official seem to be related to the children's union-formation experience by way of their relationship to parental religious service attendance. Interestingly, religious commitment and participation seem to be stronger predictors of marriage and cohabitation experience than religious affiliation, although Catholic affiliation is associated with lower rates of marriage once factors correlated with affiliation are controlled.

In this chapter we broaden our examination of religious influences on entrance into unions by raising several additional questions and issues. First, we compare the effects of paternal and maternal religious activity on children's union-formation experience, asking explicitly whether mothers or fathers influence their children the most. Second, we compare the

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