Family Formation and Returning to Institutional Religion in Young Adulthood Articles uri icon


  • Uecker, Jeremy E.
  • Stroope, Samuel

publication date

  • June 2016

start page

  • 384

end page

  • 406


  • 2


  • 55

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-8294

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-5906


  • Institutional religious involvement wanes during young adulthood, but evidence suggests life-course factors such as family formation bring people back to religion. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Waves 1, 3, and 4), we examine how often young adults who were involved in institutional religion as adolescents return-measured by religious service attendance and religious affiliation-after leaving in emerging adulthood, and how this return is patterned by family formation. The majority of young adults who leave do not return to regular religious service attendance, regardless of their family formation. But single parents, married parents, and childless married individuals are more likely, and childless cohabiting couples less likely, to return to religious communities than those who are both single and childless.


  • religious return; marriage; cohabitation; childbearing; religiosity; religious affiliation; church involvement; single mothers; participation; marriage; children; life; age; spirituality; trajectories; affiliation