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Study: Parents’ Divorce Increases Likelihood Children Will Leave Church

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File photo of a chapel. (credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a chapel. (credit: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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WACO, Texas (CBS Houston) – Hail Mary, full of grace, the church is not with thee following divorce.

A new study has found that children with two religious parents are more likely to leave the church if their parents get a divorce. Researchers from Baylor University discovered that these children are twice as likely to become estranged from their church compared to children with parents who stay together.

“When both parents are religious, the effect of divorce has a negative effect on religiosity,” Jeremy Uecker, a professor at Baylor University and lead author of the study, told U.S. News and World Report. “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 concluded that children’s religious beliefs were affected post-divorce in all religions. Researchers will hope to explore the root of the issue as to why divorced children might not be as religious following a divorce.

“I think it’s this idea of the loss of socialization and teaching of the religion when parents separate,” Uecker said. “The next goal is to identify the mechanisms and reasons why parental divorce matters—to follow a group of children over time and ask them about religious training and that sort of thing.”

 

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