Children of divorce less likely to attend church

Children raised by happily married parents are more than twice as likely to attend religious services as the children of divorced couples, according to a report from conservative US organisation the Institute for American Values.

The report, entitled Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith? claims the children of divorce are also less likely to express an interest in God, saying they are spearheading a trend towards Americans describing themselves as ‘spiritual but not religious’.

Report co-author Julie Zietlow wrote in The Atlantic: “Children of divorce [have] spiritual stories quite often characterized by loss or suffering.”

Churches need to do more to help couples in trouble, the report’s co-authors claim in a Washington Post article:

“Numerous studies are now revealing that children of divorce overall are less religious when they grow up, with clear implications for the vitality of the churches. In one study, two-thirds of young adults who grew up in married parent families, compared to just over half who grew up in divorced families, say they are very or fairly religious. And, more than a third of people from married parent families currently attend religious services almost every week, compared to just a quarter of people from divorced families…..Our findings show that it is especially critical for churches to help couples work through moderate difficulties rather than settle for a “good” divorce—in which parents stay involved in the child’s life and minimize conflict with one another.”

Photo by Elliott Brown via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

Marilyn Stowe

The senior partner at Stowe Family Law, Marilyn Stowe is one of Britain’s best known divorce lawyers with clients throughout the country, in Europe, the Far East and the USA.

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