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Open AccessArticle

How Religion, Social Class, and Race Intersect in the Shaping of Young Women’s Understandings of Sex, Reproduction, and Contraception

1
Department of Sociology, St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI 54115, USA
2
Department of Sociology, University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
3
Center for Population and Development Studies, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Religions 2021, 12(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010005
Received: 20 October 2020 / Revised: 10 December 2020 / Accepted: 15 December 2020 / Published: 23 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Complexity of Religious Inequality)
Using a complex religion framework, this study examines how and why three dimensions of religiosity—biblical literalism, personal religiosity, and religious service attendance—are related to young women’s reproductive and contraceptive knowledge differently by social class and race. We triangulate the analysis of survey data from the Relationship Dynamics and Social Life (RDSL) study and semi-structured interview data from the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) to identify and explain patterns. From the quantitative data, we find that all three dimensions of religiosity link to young women’s understandings of sex, reproduction, and contraception in unique ways according to parental education and racial identity. There is a lack of knowledge about female reproductive biology for young women of higher SES with conservative Christian beliefs (regardless of race), but personal religiosity and religious service attendance are related to more accurate contraceptive knowledge for young black women and less accurate knowledge for young White women. From the qualitative data, we find that class and race differences in the meaning of religion and how it informs sexual behavior help explain results from the quantitative data. Our results demonstrate the importance of taking a complex religion approach to studying religion and sex-related outcomes. View Full-Text
Keywords: religion; race; social class; contraceptive knowledge; reproductive knowledge; complex religion religion; race; social class; contraceptive knowledge; reproductive knowledge; complex religion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Krull, L.M.; Pearce, L.D.; Jennings, E.A. How Religion, Social Class, and Race Intersect in the Shaping of Young Women’s Understandings of Sex, Reproduction, and Contraception. Religions 2021, 12, 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010005

AMA Style

Krull LM, Pearce LD, Jennings EA. How Religion, Social Class, and Race Intersect in the Shaping of Young Women’s Understandings of Sex, Reproduction, and Contraception. Religions. 2021; 12(1):5. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010005

Chicago/Turabian Style

Krull, Laura M.; Pearce, Lisa D.; Jennings, Elyse A. 2021. "How Religion, Social Class, and Race Intersect in the Shaping of Young Women’s Understandings of Sex, Reproduction, and Contraception" Religions 12, no. 1: 5. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12010005

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