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Catholic Schooling and Disaffiliation from Catholicism

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Using event history analysis of 849 adults raised Catholic, this research note examines effects of attending Catholic elementary school and high school on the likelihood one remains Catholic. Attending Catholic high school for at least three years significantly reduces the likelihood that one disaffiliates from Catholicism, reducing both the likelihood that one converts to another faith and the likelihood that one chooses to have no religion at all. Additional analyses show that Catholic high school has no significant effect on adult Mass attendance when considering respondents who are currently Catholic. But when analyses include all respondents raised Catholic, Catholic high school produces a positive effect on attendance. This may help explain seemingly conflicting findings in the literature on Catholic schooling and religious commitment.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Paul Perl is a researcher for the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), 2300 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, DC, 20007., Email: 2: Mark M. Gray is a research associate at CARA and a research assistant professor at Georgetown University., Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2007


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