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The Relationship Between Religiosity and Marriage From Emerging to Established Adulthood


This investigation examined the relationship between religiosity and marriage across a period of life marked by the transition from emerging adulthood and established adulthood. While many studies have established a positive link between religiosity and marriage, little longitudinal research has been conducted to prospectively predict one from the other. Using data from 290 young adults participating in the Longitudinal Study of Generations in 2000 and 2016, we applied latent class analysis to identify three religious classes at both periods based on religious attendance, intensity, attitudes, spirituality, and beliefs. We then used these classes as leading predictors of later marriage and as outcomes predicted by earlier marriage. We found statistically significant relationships between stronger religiosity and greater likelihood of marriage and between marriage and stronger religiosity in the transition from emerging to established adulthood. Significantly larger effects in both directions were observed for men than for women. We conclude that while both religiosity and marriage have declined in the population, an increasingly narrow but distinctive subset of individuals simultaneously maintain traditional religious orientations and a proclivity to marry by established adulthood. Future research on this topic and implications for clergy are discussed.

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The funded was provided by John Templeton Foundation, National Institute on Aging (Grant No: R01-AG07977).

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Correspondence to Merril Silverstein.

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Silverstein, M., Hwang, W., Kim, JH. et al. The Relationship Between Religiosity and Marriage From Emerging to Established Adulthood. J Adult Dev (2022).

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  • Religiosity
  • Marriage
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Established adulthood
  • Longitudinal