Religion and timing of first marriage: an extension




Rendon, Joshua Jonathan

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Limited studies have found denominational variations in marriage timing in the U.S. with conservative Protestants marrying at a much younger age than Catholics as well as those who are not religious, who marry at an older age. However, the effects of other religious factors, such as attendance at worship services and religious salience, are understudied. This study extends previous research by examining the effects of religiosity on the timing of first marriage among young adults, using pooled cross-sectional data from the National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010. Informed by a theoretical framework that integrates three perspectives, namely, denominational subcultural variations, gendered religiosity, and religiousness across the life course, a series of log-logistic parametric survival models were estimated separately by gender. The replication models estimated the effects of dummy-coded denominational affiliation variables. The extension models examined worship service attendance and religious salience, individually and collectively while controlling for denominational affiliation. The full models incorporated all the religious variables in the study. Consistent with previous research findings, Protestants were found to marry earlier than the unaffiliated except for women who identified as black Protestants. Within the Protestant denominational family, conservative Protestants exhibited earliest entrance. As hypothesized, the pattern of denominational variation in marriage timing is stronger for women than for men. Also as anticipated, the current denominational affiliation exerts slightly more influences on marriage timing than denominational affiliation at adolescence. Moreover, marriage timing was accelerated by frequent worship service attendance, suggesting that attendance not only allows for worship but also serves as a source of religious teachings that reinforce the importance of marriage and family life. Finally, for those who deem religion salient the waiting time to marriage was shortened. However, much of the effect of religious salience was mediated by attendance at religious services.


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Conservative Protestants, Philosophy, religion and theology, Catholics, Young adults