- The Washington Times - Monday, April 14, 2008

PASADENA, Calif. (UPI) — Attendance at religious services predicts marital fidelity, but researchers are not sure why.

David C. Atkins and Deborah E. Kessel of the Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena examined whether dimensions of religious life — including prayer, closeness to God, faith and religious activities — related to infidelity, using structured, face-to-face interviews with questions related to religion and spirituality.

The study, published in the May issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, found that religious service attendance was the only unique, religious predictor of infidelity. Prayer, importance of religion and strong reported faith were not predictors, the researchers said.

The authors said they think religious attendance may imply prevention of infidelity because it is a shared activity between spouses, because it can create a strong network of relationships within the church or because it affords many chances to hear religious teaching on marriage.

The study “opens the door for a host of questions about why attendance might have this special association,” the authors said.

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