Living in Sin No More: Religion and the Transition from Cohabitation

Matthew Loyd, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Daniel N DeHanas, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Sharing a home with a partner before marriage is an important life transition for an increasing number of young adults in the U.S. Research has focused on who enters cohabitations, but important questions remain about the transition out of cohabitation. Though economics is clearly a concern of cohabiting couples, religion is a key cultural factor that has been overlooked in previous work. Many religious groups discourage or prohibit cohabitation, yet a significant number of U.S. cohabitors participate in religious communities. Using panel data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this paper employs a discrete-time logistic event history analysis to model the competing risks of marriage and separation as transitions from cohabitation. This analysis tests whether individuals who report conservative religious affiliations and high levels of religiosity are more likely to marry or separate from their cohabiting partners, compared to individuals with liberal affiliations and low levels of religiosity.

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Presented in Poster Session 2: Family, Households, Unions; Data, Methods, Study Design