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Religions 2018, 9(8), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9080238

Their Fault, Not Mine: Religious Commitment, Theological Conservatism, and Americans’ Retrospective Reasons for Divorce

Department of Sociology, University of Oklahoma, 780 Van Vleet Oval, Kaufman Hall 335A, Norman, OK 73019, USA
Received: 3 July 2018 / Revised: 1 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion and Family Life)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [261 KB, uploaded 7 August 2018]

Abstract

How does religion influence the ways divorcées frame their divorce experience? Building on Mills’s “vocabularies of motive” concept, I theorize that Americans who are more religious or affiliated with a conservative Protestant tradition will be more likely to emphasize their former spouse’s role in the divorce while minimizing their own. Data are taken from a large, representative sample of divorced Americans in the 2014 Relationships in America survey. Analyses affirm that divorced Americans who attend worship services more frequently are more likely to say that their former spouse wanted the divorce more than they did. Looking at 17 specific reasons for divorce, those who feel religion is more important to them are consistently more likely to select reasons that put blame on their former spouse or circumstances, while frequent attendees are less likely to cite their own behaviors or intentions. Though less consistent, notable patterns also emerged for conservative Protestants. Given the stigma against divorce in many religious communities, I argue that divorcées in such communities likely feel internal pressure to account for their divorce in ways that deflect blame. View Full-Text
Keywords: evangelicals; marriage; divorce; religious attendance; vocabularies of motive evangelicals; marriage; divorce; religious attendance; vocabularies of motive
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Perry, S.L. Their Fault, Not Mine: Religious Commitment, Theological Conservatism, and Americans’ Retrospective Reasons for Divorce. Religions 2018, 9, 238.

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