A new study has found that the children of religious couples are much more likely to leave the religion if their parents get divorced.
The study, published Tuesday in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, found that children who had two religious parents who get divorced are twice as likely to become estranged from their church as adultscompared to people whose parents didn’t get divorced.
“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.”
Previous studies have found a link between divorce and a child’s future beliefs, but Uecker says that the “effect has been overstated” because those previous studies did not take into account the parents’ religious beliefs.