Monday, February 16, 2009

Some data on moral behavior

This is a newspaper clipping I've kept kicking around for a while. It would be interesting to get the whole report, but I'm not sure how. I think you have to pay for it.

I'll just type off the whole newspaper article. It won't take long.

I don't know if this is any comfort to any who have alreadly lost a marriage. There are so many factors. I do find it encouraging that most Christian groups as a whole, have more stability than average.

Churchgoers less likely to run around.

Conservative believers most faithful to spouses.(Shannon Proudfoot, CanWest News Service)

Where you worship--and whether you worship at all--could be connnected to your likelihood of straying from your marriage vows.

People who identify with a faith group are less likely to cheat on their spouses than those with no religious affiliation, a new study has found. but even among the religious set, the odds vary according to denomination.

"What matters the most is being involved in a religious organization", says Amy Burdett, co-author of the study and a post-doctoral scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "those who attend church more are less likely to cheat, and those who have more conservative views of the Bible are less likely to cheat."

Baptist are one-third less likely to wander than those with no religious affiliation, researchers found, and Catholics display similar odds. Moderate Protestants such as Presbyterians and Lutherans have 37 per cent lower odds of cheating than the unaffiliated, while liberal Protestants such as those in the United and Anglican churches are 31 per cent more faithful.

Non-traditional conservative groups such as Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses display no less likelihood of cheating than people with no religious affiliation.

"That was little bit surprising, considering you think of these conservative religious groups as having stricter teachings about sexuality" Burdette says.

Those belonging to "other" faiths, such as Judaism and Islam, also carry the same odds of infidelity as non-religious people, the researchers say.

The study, published in the December issues of the Journal of Family Issues, categorized faiths according to the American spiritual landscape. The Canadian denominational examples provided here are approximations.

All faith groups tend to emphasize family life and promote strong marital relationships, Burdette says, which may partly explain the results.

"I don't think there's any church that would say extramarital affairs are OK, even churches that are less strict on premarital sex, for example," she says. "There's a blanket condemnation of extramarital affairs."

Regular church attendance and faith-oriented events may leave people with less time to frequent environments conducive to cheating, such as bars, she says. The authors also suggest that religious participation may lessen the risk of infidelity because members are more likely to move in social circles that "lower opportunities for extramarital sex and raise the likelihood and cost of detection."

The researchers considered the possibility that people lied about adulterous relationships. However, Burdette says previous studies have shown that religious people are no more likely to give "socially desirable" answers.

The study used date from the U>S. General Social Surveys of 1991 to 2004, analyzing the responses of almost 8,00 people aged 18 to 89.

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