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Religious Heritage and Teenage Marriage

Judith A. Hammond, Bettie S. Cole and Scott H. Beck
Review of Religious Research
Vol. 35, No. 2 (Dec., 1993), pp. 117-133
DOI: 10.2307/3511779
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3511779
Page Count: 17
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Religious Heritage and Teenage Marriage
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Abstract

Teen marriage may be a way of legitimately culminating a sexual relationship and attaining adult status. Our purpose is to investigate whether the religion in which a young person was raised has an impact on the decision to marry early. Extrapolating from our findings on premarital sex as well as previous research of others, we hypothesized that Fundamentalist and Institutional Sect backgrounds produce higher rates of teen marriage. We utilized data from the NLSY between 1979 and 1984 for whites and female blacks. The logistic regressions indicated substantial differences in the likelihood of teen marriage by religious heritage category for male and female whites, but not for female African-Americans. Using mainline Protestants as the comparison group, we find that young whites with Fundamentalist and Sect-like backgrounds are much more likely to marry by age 19, while Catholics and non-Christians are significantly less likely to marry early. These differences persist even when controlling for geographic factors, parental and family characteristics, church attendance, and expectations for adult roles.

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