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Religious Attendance Heterogamy and Partnership Quality in Later Life

Sun, August 13, 8:30 to 10:10am, Palais des congrès de Montréal, Floor: Level 5, 516C


Prior research attests to the importance of couple-level religious similarity for multiple dimensions of partnership quality and stability, but few studies have investigated whether this association holds for older couples. The current articles uses dyadic data from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP), a representative sample of 953 individuals age 62-91 plus their marital or cohabiting partners. Results of actor-partner independence models reveal that religious service heterogamy predicts lower relationship happiness and satisfaction. Both associations were explained by the fact that religiously dissimilar partners report relatively little free time in joint activity. Further, religiously heterogamous couples have less frequent sex and engage in less non-sexual touch than their more similar counterparts. Taken together, results attest to the ongoing importance of religious similarity—service attendance, in particular—for partnership quality in late life. Future research is needed to more fully examine which mechanisms account for these patterns.


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