Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Family formation and leaving religion

This post continues several from last week regarding young people leaving the church. The data above come from a study by Mark Regnerus and colleagues in which they measured how many young people stopped affiliating with religion over a seven-year span.

The variables here look at what the young people do regarding marriage and kids, and, no surprise, those who chose to live together are much more likely to no longer affiliate with religion than those who don't.


André said...

You say that it is "no surprise" that the cohabitating couples' children drop their religion. Why is this not a surprise?

S.S.Stone said...

We're in a period of "cultural cluelessness" (Rutgers sociologist Barbara Dafoe Whitehead explains (Popenoe & Whitehead 1999).

"Most societies have had a script and young adults have been guided through that script. And now the script is being so radically revised that nobody knows what it is anymore or people have torn it up."

A "script" such as a marriage contract when tossed out the window then everything else soon follows. I'm not surprised either that the children of couples cohabitating drop out of religion..a firm foundation of committment is lacking-could it be they're less likely to work at committment themselves?
Look at how many couples who have been living together for a few years all of a sudden get married...and why? -->because now they think they'd like to start a family.

André said...

Thank you for clarifying, S.S.
That makes sense.

Brad Wright said...

Andre, I was thinking that living together, considered a no-no in some churches, indicates a partial break from the church already.

Sarah, you're getting sociological on us! I'm impressed. What you say about a generalized commitment makes sense.

S.S.Stone said...

Could it be I'm hanging out with the best sociologists? ;)