Taking Thy Husband's Name: The Role of Religious Affiliation
- FAMILY ROLES,
- SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS,
- UNION FORMATION
Copyright (c) 2011 Maney Publishing
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This study examined the influence of religion on women's decision to retain their birth names after marriage. Samples (N = 2575) were derived from wedding announcements in the New York Times, a major US newspaper. Multivariate analysis, controlling for age and year of marriage, indicated that the net effect of religion accounted for 2.6 percent of the likelihood of name keeping (p<.001). The highest percentage of women retaining birth names were those marrying in civil ceremonies (55.9%). Women marrying in Catholic ceremonies were least likely to keep their birth names (24.6%), followed by those marrying in Protestant (27.9%) and Jewish (37.5%) ceremonies. There was a systematic age-related increase in the likelihood that a woman would keep their birth name that lessened the role of religion on name keeping. Women who married at 35–39 years of age were 6.4 times more likely to keep her birth name compared to women 20–24 years of age. Although women who married in 2007–2008 were 3.1 times more likely to retain their birth names than those married in 1990–1991, the interaction between time period and religion was not significant. We conclude that while religion still exerts a major influence on name keeping, that influence has been gradually diminishing as American women delay age of marriage.
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