Religiosity and family stability

September 7, 2010
By tomsander

Family Praying Together – Flickr photo by nofocus

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at U. Va., reports in a study in the Journal of Marriage & Family comparing happiness and relationship quality across race and ethnicity and its interaction with religion.

“African American couples are more likely than others to share core religious beliefs and pray together at home — factors that have been linked to greater happiness in marriages and relationships…”

“True to the aphorism, couples who pray together stay together, said study co-author W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia , and ‘African American couples are more likely to have a shared spiritual identity as a couple.’

“The study found that 40 percent of blacks in marriages and live-in relationships who attended religious services regularly had a partner who did the same, compared with 29 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 29 percent of Hispanics….White couples, in general, reported greater relationship satisfaction than other groups, presumably because of income and educational advantages, the study says. But the racial gap lessens when religious similarities come into the mix.”  [excerpts from Washington Post story.]

The study noted that when there is a discrepancy between the religiosity of the two spouses it tends to strain relationship quality.

American Grace, out in October, has a whole chapter on what is distinct about African Americans and religiosity, a religious edge that Wilcox said is helping to boost the relationship quality of African Americans beyond what would otherwise be expected.

See: Christopher G. Ellison, Amy M. Burdette and W. Bradford Wilcox, The Couple That Prays Together: Race and Ethnicity, Religion, and Relationship Quality Among Working-Age Adults, Journal of Marriage & Family, 72(4):963-975 (2010)]


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply