Essay on Religiousness and Unfaithfulness

The research is mainly based on self-reported marital behavior. Various surveys are processed to get a comprehensive image. Among them are the 1991-2004 General Social Surveys. Among other aspects, these surveys definitely associate religious factors with the likelihood of marital infidelity, with lower odds of self-reported infidelity if to be more precise. Fincham et al. (2010) have conducted three studies. The participants spent 4-6 weeks praying for their partners. Dollahite & Lambert (2007) have conducted several in-depth interviews with 57 married couples. These were highly religious representatives of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Burdette et al. (2007) offer comprehensive measurements of religious affiliation as a basis for denominational variations in the odds of marital infidelity examination. Specific forms of religious commitment are investigated as well. They measure marital infidelity via responses to the question “Have you ever had sex with someone other than your husband or wife while you were married?” The results of questionnaire are presented through a series of logistic regression models. Schafer (2011) utilizes dual-process theory to compare and contrast religious factors against rational and relational factors.

Fincham et al. (2010) come up with the conclusion that regular praying for the partner is associated with lower levels of extra-dyadic romantic behavior. Atkins & Kessel (2008), though, reveal that individuals with high religious importance but low attendance were more likely to have had an affair and weak evidence that marital happiness moderated the association between religiousness and infidelity. According to the responds of the interviewees, faith and religious practice sanctifies marriage and improves its quality; marital commitment to fidelity is fortified through religious vows and involvement; moral values of couples are strengthened and infidelity is rare because of the fear to displease God (Dollahite & Lambert, 2007). Burdette et al. (2007) test several hypotheses and come up with the following conclusions: the representatives of conservative Protestant affiliations and the Catholics are less likely to get involved in extramarital sexual ties, then families with no religious affiliation; the importance of marital fidelity is reinforced through the belief in the supernatural consequences of deviation; the more frequent the church attendance is, the less the likelihood of marital infidelity is. Schafer (2011), however, argues with the significance of religious affiliation and shows that relational experience of individuals matters more.

A review of the literature provides enough sound theoretical reasons for a hypothesis in which religion being an independent variable and unfaithfulness a dependent, that there will be a lessened likelihood, operationalized as tolerance, of unfaithfulness in couples with religious beliefs, especially for those who claim greater religious devotion.

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