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Family Structure, Family Disruption, and Profiles of Adolescent Religiosity

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Youth in the United States are experiencing increasing numbers of family transitions as parents move in and out of marriages and cohabiting relationships. Using three waves of survey data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, I examine the relationship between family structure, parental breakup, and adolescent religiosity. A person‐centered measure of the religiosity of adolescents is used to identify youth as Abiders, Adapters, Assenters, Avoiders, or Atheists and to assess movement of youth between the religious profiles between 2003 and 2008. Wave 1 family structure is not significantly related to religious change among adolescents at Wave 3. In contrast, the experience of a parental breakup is related to a change in religious profiles over time. Parental breakup is associated with religious decline among Abiders and Adapters, youth characterized by high levels of religious salience. However, among Assenters who are marginally tied to religion, a parental breakup or divorce is associated with increased religious engagement.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology, Clemson University

Publication date: 2012-03-01

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