Religious attendance as reproductive support

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    68 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We argue that a central function of religious attendance in the contemporary United States is to support a high-fertility, monogamous mating strategy. Although religious attendance is correlated with many demographic, personality, moral, and behavioral variables, we propose that sexual and family variables are at the core of many of these relationships. Numerous researchers have assumed that religious socialization causes people to feel moral reactions and engage in behaviors promoted by religious groups. On our view, mating preferences are centrally involved in individual differences in attraction to religious groups. In a sample of 21,131 individuals who participated in the US General Social Survey, sexual behaviors were the relatively strongest predictors of religious attendance, even after controlling for age and gender. Effects of age and gender on religious attendance were weaker and substantially reduced when controlling for sexual and family patterns. A sample of 902 college students provided more detailed information on religious, moral, and sexual variables. Results suggest that (1) moral views about sexual behavior are more strongly linked to religious attendance than other moral issues, and (2) mating strategy is more powerful than standard personality variables in predicting religious attendance. These findings suggest that reproductive strategies are at the heart of variations in religious attendance.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)327-334
    Number of pages8
    JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
    Volume29
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 2008

    Fingerprint

    sexual behavior
    Sexual Behavior
    Personality
    gender
    religious group
    Socialization
    personality
    religious socialization
    college students
    mating behavior
    Individuality
    reproductive strategy
    Fertility
    fertility
    demographic statistics
    student
    researchers
    Research Personnel
    Demography
    Students

    Keywords

    • Religiosity
    • Religious attendance
    • Reproductive strategies
    • Sociosexuality

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Development

    Cite this

    Religious attendance as reproductive support. / Weeden, Jason; Cohen, Adam; Kenrick, Douglas.

    In: Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 29, No. 5, 09.2008, p. 327-334.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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