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Religious Influence on Marital Stability

Vaughn R. A. Call and Tim B. Heaton
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 36, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 382-392
DOI: 10.2307/1387856
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1387856
Page Count: 11
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Religious Influence on Marital Stability
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Abstract

Researchers frequently postulate a strong relationship between religiosity and marital stability. We incorporate a multidimensional specification of religiosity into event-history models of the religion-marital stability relationship. Results are based on panel data from the National Survey of Families and Households (N = 4,587 married couples). While no single dimension of religiosity adequately describes the effect of religious experience on marital stability, the frequency of religious attendance has the greatest positive impact on marital stability. When both spouses attend church regularly, the couple has the lowest risk of divorce. Spouse differences in church attendance increase the risk of dissolution. All significant religious affiliation influences disappear once demographic characteristics are controlled. The wife's religious beliefs concerning marital commitment and nonmarital sex are more important to the stability of the marriage than the husband's beliefs.

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