Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Family Consumer Human Development

Committee Chair(s)

Thomas R. Lee


Thomas R. Lee


Brent C. Miller


Philip L. Barlow


Maria C. Norton


Linda Skogrand


The influence of religiosity in adolescence on several variables that have been shown to be predictors of marital quality and stability was examined using a nationally representative sample of 3,151 youth, aged 13 to 17 years, from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR). Religiosity was defined to incorporate multiple characteristics including religious beliefs, attitudes, participation, experiences, and identities. The effect of religious affiliation and religiosity was also examined for seven premarital predictors, which included relationship with parents, ideal age for marriage, right and wrong, academic achievement, sexual behavior, attitude toward cohabitation, and attitude toward divorce. Data were collected through telephone interviews using a random-digit-dial method between 2002 and 2003. Youth were categorized into eight religious groups: Conservative Protestant, Mainline Protestant, Black Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Other Christian, and Not Religious. Research questions were analyzed using ANCOVA, OLS regression, and logistic regression. Results indicated that all three research hypotheses were supported by the data. Specifically, religious affiliation significantly predicted level of religiosity, religiosity was related to each of the seven premarital predictors of marital quality and stability, and religious affiliation acted as a moderator in the relationships between religiosity and the seven premarital predictors. Comparison of the eight religious groups revealed that religiosity has a unique influence on youth in the different groups in relation to these outcome variables. In light of these findings, implications, limitations, and future directions for research are discussed.