Faith, Family, and Teen Dating: Examining the Effects of Personal and Household Religiosity on Adolescent Romantic Relationships

Kristi M. Fondren, University of Southern Mississippi


Dating continues to be a key point of transition into American adolescence for many teens. Yet, despite a growing research literature on romantic relationships and dating in adolescence, little attention has been paid to the impact of religion on teen dating. This study examines how various forms of personal religiosity and the family's religious environment influence dating. Using data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, we explore the effects of religion on dating involvement (total number of partners dated), and partner selection (number of interfaith versus same-faith dating relationships). Significant religious effects surface for both dating involvement and partner selection, underscoring the need to examine more closely the influence of religion on the lives of American teens.