Sexuality Research and Social Policy

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 163–175 | Cite as

Religiosity and the Transition to Nonmarital Parity



Nonmarital parity is associated with several negative outcomes, including health problems, educational problems, and poverty. Understanding the risk and protective factors associated with nonmarital parenthood can inform policy and interventions, reducing both the incidences and associated consequences. The current study focuses on how intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity (the degree to which individuals or groups employ religious ideology in forming values and making decisions) are related to the timing of nonmarital parity using discrete time hazard modeling of a nationally representative sample of adolescent females (N = 7,367) from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The majority of the sample (86 %) claimed a religious affiliation and almost a third (32 %) had a nonmarital birth during the study. Even though the majority of the sample is White (67 %), Black and Hispanic females were more likely to experience a nonmarital birth. Results indicate that intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity and religious affiliation assert protective effects for some populations while religious affiliation increases risk in the full model. Recommendations for policy, intervention, and future research are offered.


Nonmarital fertility Religiosity Reproductive and sexual health Add Health Health inequalities 



This research uses data from Add Health, a program project directed by Kathleen Mullan Harris and designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and funded by grant P01-HD31921 from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 23 other federal agencies and foundations. Special acknowledgment is due to Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for the assistance in the original design. Information on how to obtain the Add Health data files is available on the Add Health website ( addhealth). No direct support was received from grant P01-HD31921 for this analysis.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work, and Criminal JusticeOakland UniversityRochesterUSA

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