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January 18, 2018

GSS Study Looks at Relationships and Religion

People who attend religious services semi-regularly are less likely to cheat on their spouses, recent data from the General Social Survey (GSS) suggests.

The GSS is a project of the non-partisan independent research organization NORC, which has been tied to the University since 1947.

According to the GSS, people who attend services semi-regularly are less likely to cheat than those who attend only a few times a year or not at all, regardless of the type of service attended. Wendy Wang, director of research for the Institute for Family Studies, analyzed the data and found that religious service attendance was the variable most strongly correlated with infidelity rates for both men and women.

For men, race and age are the two factors most predictive of cheating. For women, however, political party identification and family background are stronger predictors. Wang writes in her analysis of the GSS, “Overall, Democrats, adults who didn’t grow up in intact families, and those who rarely or never attend religious services are more likely than others to have cheated on their spouse.”

For both men and women, attendance of religious services was the only factor that showed constant significance in predicting infidelity.

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