Kids with Divorced Parents Less Likely to Be Religious

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Kids with Divorced Parents Less Likely to Be Religious

*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on the Daily Mail.

Children raised by divorced parents are more likely than children whose parents are married to be non-religious as adults, according to a new study.

With a rise in religiously unaffiliated Americans over the years, a survey suggests that family stability or inability can impact a child's religious identity as an adult.

Findings showed that 35 per cent of people raised by divorced parents considered themselves to be religiously unaffiliated compared to 23 per cent of people whose parents were married during most of their formative years.

Divorce even impacts how often people who remain religiously affiliated attend a religious service, according to the survey from The Public Religion Research Institute.

Thirty-one per cent of people raised by divorce parents who remain religiously affiliated attend religious services at least once a week.

This is compared to 43 per cent of their peers whose parents were married during their childhood.

Luther Seminary professor Andrew Root told The Washington Post that when it comes to divorce, everything gets divided including religion.

"Literally everything. Parents' friends get divided. Relatives get divided. Everyone takes sides," Roots told the newspaper.

"Even religion takes sides. The church gets divided. Dad leaves mom's faith, or vice versa. Negotiating those worlds becomes difficult."

The survey, which asked religiously unaffiliated participants several questions about religion, also showed the impact children's upbringing in mixed religious households has on their religious identity.

In households where children were raised by parents who identified with different religious traditions, 31 per cent are more likely to identify as non-religious compared to 22 per cent of adults raised in households where parents shared the same faith.

"There is no single reason the unaffiliated are growing so dramatically, but this survey finds new evidence that the structure of family life is part of the story," Daniel Cox, PRRI Research Director, said.

"Americans raised by divorced parents or by parents in interfaith marriages are less likely than those brought up in two-parent or single-faith households to be religiously active as adults."

Source: Daily Mail