Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Religious folks are less likely to cheat on spouse

The National Couples Survey asked 234 whites if they have had sex with someone other than their spouse. Here are the estimates by how religious the respondent is:

Not religious 14.3
Somewhat religious 3.3
Very religious 5.4

Those who are not religious are 4.3 times more likely to have strayed than the moderately religious and 2.6 times more likely than the very religious. (Differences are not statistically significant.)

The finding is consistent with my General Social Survey analyses showing a positive link between never going to church and infidelity, and atheism and cheating.

(These numbers might look low to you. Keep in mind that the age range for females is 20-35 and the males (their partners) are ages 18 and up, so this is a young group with fewer years of marriage than the general married population.)


  1. How does this break down for men and women?

    Have you done the analysis for your own posts?

  2. sabril3:04 AM

    As I noted previously, I don't think you can take these statistics very seriously. People lie about their sexual experiences.

    It seems to me that if a married person is religious and has cheated, her or she is much less likely to admit it than a secular person who has cheated.

  3. The wording used here ("had sex with someone other than their spouse") would seem to allow for including premarital sex.

  4. Le Mur7:47 AM

    People lie about their sexual experiences.

    My experience, admittedly not data, is that "religious" (church going) people lie as a matter of course. They'll be forgiven!


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