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Religious Influences on Teenage Childbearing Among Brazilian Female Adolescents: A Research Note

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Scholars have shown increasing interest in the social implications of Protestant and, specifically, Pentecostal expansion in Latin America over the past several decades. This study uses data from the National Demographic and Health Survey in Brazil to explore the influence of religious affiliation and attendance on the reproductive behavior of unmarried female adolescents (ages 15–19). Results demonstrate that religiously affiliated female adolescents are less likely to have had a child during their teen years when compared with their unaffiliated peers. These protective effects are quite robust for adolescents who claim a Pentecostal affiliation, which is consistent with the doctrine of sanctification, including norms of sexual restraint. Results also demonstrate that teens who attend worship services frequently are significantly less likely to have had a child. These findings augment prior research on religion and fertility while calling attention to the protective effects associated with emergent niches in Brazil's increasingly diversified religious economy.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2010.01544.x

Affiliations: Department of SociologyUniversity of Texas at San Antonio

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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