Religious Attendance as Reproductive Support.


We argue that a central function of religious attendance in the contemporary U.S. is to support a high-fertility, monogamous mating strategy. Although religious attendance is correlated with many demographic, personality, moral, and behavioral variables, we propose that sexual and family variables are at the core of many of these relationships. Numerous researchers have assumed that religious socialization causes people to feel moral reactions and engage in behaviors promoted by religious groups. On our view, mating preferences are centrally involved in individual differences in attraction to religious groups. In a sample of 21,131 individuals who participated in the U.S. General Social Survey, sexual behaviors were the relatively strongest predictors of religious attendance, even after controlling for age and gender. Effects of age and gender on religious attendance were weaker, and substantially reduced when controlling for sexual and family patterns. A sample of 902 college students provided more detailed information on religious, moral, and sexual variables. Results suggest that 1) moral views about sexual behavior are more strongly linked to religious attendance than other moral issues, and 2) mating strategy is more powerful than standard personality variables in predicting religious attendance. These findings suggest that reproductive strategies are at the heart of variations in religious attendance.

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@article{Weeden2008ReligiousAA, title={Religious Attendance as Reproductive Support.}, author={Jason Weeden and Adam B. Cohen and Douglas T. Kenrick}, journal={Evolution and human behavior : official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society}, year={2008}, volume={29 5}, pages={327-334} }