Children Of Divorce Less Likely To Go To Church On Sunday

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divorce effects on kidsJust another thing for divorced parents everywhere to feel guilty about. A new study shows that children in religious families whose parents get divorced are twice as likely to drop their religious affiliation as adults than children who’s parents stayed together.

“When both parents are religious, the effect of divorce has a negative effect on religiosity,” says Jeremy Uecker, a professor at Baylor University and lead author of the study. “They might think their parents’ marriage was ordained by God or something and that breakup can have more of an effect on their religiousness in adulthood.”

The study published in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion shows that children may be come disillusioned with a religion that teaches the sanctity of marriage when that marriage falls apart:

Uecker says the effect of divorce on a child’s future religious beliefs was seen across all religions. In the future, he hopes to study why children of divorced parents seem more likely to be less religious.

Uecker doesn’t specify which faiths in particular were used in the study. Just that divorce did have an effect of the child’s future relationship with religion when both parents were deemed religious.

Maybe it is just that the parents who got divorced weren’t all that religious to begin with and in turn caused their children to have less of an inclination to stay active in their religion as they get older. Whatever the case it seems that another effect of divorce may be a few more empty seats in the pews on Sunday.

(photo: carlosgardel / Shutterstock)


  1. MW

    March 6, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    No wonder I am not religious – my parents are divorced!!! Thank you for solving this one for me!

  2. faifai

    March 6, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    “Who’s” = “Who Is”
    Come ON people, don’t you know a contraction when you see one?

    • chickadee

      March 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm

      Not here, they don’t….

    • Rachel

      March 7, 2013 at 5:52 am

      Does this site not have any editors? It’s not like this is an isolated incident.

    • Simone

      March 7, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Hooray, someone else noticed. I was so scared I would be the only one.

    • ChopChick

      March 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      Pretty much this site has zero editing. But I mean, do they not have Microsoft word either? That’ll find your grammatical errors and misspelling for you!

  3. facepalm

    March 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Lettig church fall to the wayside might be the one positive of a divorce actually

    • Holla

      March 7, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Yep, didn’t see this reaction coming….

  4. contribuorM

    March 7, 2013 at 2:02 am


  5. ChopChick

    March 7, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I would agree with the theory on god ordaining the marriage. My parents are divorced. Mom is remarried through a courthouse ceremony. She tried guilty me about having a secular wedding asking me what the point is of having a wedding if it isn’t in the name of god. My response? What did god ever do for your marriage to my father? Isn’t your marriage to Pedro much better and that was a courthouse ceremony…

    We are catholic and my mom has also been denied the right to be at te altar for her Godson’s baptism because she was divorced. So yeah. Not that far fetched.

  6. Michele Fore

    March 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Good, the less indoctrination, the better.

  7. CrazyFor Kate

    March 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    In the words of Stephen King, “No great loss.”

    • chickadee

      March 8, 2013 at 2:36 am

      The Talisman?

    • CrazyFor Kate

      March 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      The Stand. Maybe The Talisman too, I haven’t read it.

    • chickadee

      March 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm

      Wait…where was that in The Stand? And you need to read The Talisman…

    • CrazyFor Kate

      March 8, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      The sequence after the virus apocalypse when people die because they don’t know how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. A guy gets bitten by a rattler, a kid falls in a deep pit and starves to death, a heroin addict ODs because the drugs haven’t been cut properly, etc…

    • chickadee

      March 9, 2013 at 2:51 am

      Yes, yes, now I remember. Thank you, bc that was bugging me.

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