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Arland Thornton photo

Reciprocal Effects of Religiosity, Cohabitation, and Marriage

Publication Abstract

Thornton, Arland, William Axinn, and Daniel H. Hill. 1992. "Reciprocal Effects of Religiosity, Cohabitation, and Marriage." American Journal of Sociology, 98(3): 628-65.

This article formulates and tests theoretical hypotheses of the reciprocal causal relationships between the formation of cohabiting and marital unions and religious commitment and participation. The article uses data from a panel study of mothers and children to show that the religiosity of both mothers and children influences the cohabiting and marital behavior of children, with those from less religious families having higher rates of entering intimate coresidential unions and a tendency to substitute cohabitation for marriage. Analyses of the reciprocal influences of cohabitation and marriage on religiosity indicate that cohabitation decreases religiosity, while marriage leads to increased religious participation.

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