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Research Article

Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion


Stephen Merino

Department of Sociology The Pennsylvania State University, US
About Stephen
Doctoral Candidate in Sociology
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Recent birth cohorts of Americans are more likely than previous cohorts to be raised outside of a religious tradition. In addition, those raised with no religion are increasingly likely to have no religious preference as adults. Despite their growing numbers, individuals raised with no religion have received little attention from scholars. The adult religious preferences of these individuals provide researchers with a unique opportunity to test theories of religion and social change. Using General Social Survey data, I examine the adult religious preferences and beliefs of individuals raised with no religion. I provide evidence of a shift in socialization and social influences experienced by those who report growing up with no religion. Compared with earlier cohorts raised with no religion, more recent cohorts have had more secular upbringings and tend to be more secular, liberal, and wary of organized religion as adults. They are also more likely to have a religiously unaffiliated spouse, if they marry at all. Results from a logistic regression analysis indicate that these trends explain much of the cohort differences in the likelihood of remaining unaffiliated as an adult.


Keywords: Nonreligion socialization social influence 
DOI: 10.5334/snr.aa
Volume: 1
Published on 01 Jan 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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