Seven Studies with Politically Incorrect Findings

I thought this would be an interesting list to put together. Feel free to critique or comment on any of these…and let me know if there are others you think should have been included!

1. Couples that Share Housework Equally have a Higher Divorce Rate
A large-scale survey of married couples in Norway recently found that “the divorce rate among couples who shared housework equally was around 50 per cent higher than among those where the woman did most of the work.” You can read a brief overview HERE…or a longer summary HERE…or the entire 228 page report (in Norwegian) HERE. I should also emphasize the distinction here between correlation and causation. The take home message isn’t that men doing housework contributes to divorce, but rather that younger couples with more “modern” attitudes toward gender roles are also less likely to take their marriage vows seriously. (Sorry fellas. The “I can’t vacuum honey, because science!” excuse won’t pass muster.)

2. Children with Gay or Lesbian Parents have Significantly Poorer Social, Emotional, and Relational Outcomes than Children from Intact Biological Families
Mark Regnerus’s New Family Structures Study raised a tremendous amount of controversy when it was published earlier this year. For those who remember, I wrote a post back in June addressing some of these reactions. There was actually something of a witch-hunt after the study’s publication, with a number of activists accusing Dr. Regnerus of scientific misconduct (his university has since cleared him of these allegations).

3. Over a Ten-Year Period in Spain, Increased Access to Contraception Corresponded with a Dramatic Rise in Abortion Rates
This study provides an excellent counterexample to the pro-choice dogma that increased availability of contraception is the key to reducing abortion rates. From the abstract: “During the study period, 1997 to 2007, the overall use of contraceptive methods increased from 49.1% to 79.9%…The elective abortion rate increased from 5.52 to 11.49 per 1000 women.” Marc (over at BadCatholic) recently did a nice write-up on this issue as well.

4. People Who Regularly Attend Church are Happier than Those Who Don’t
According to a 2006 Pew Research report, “People who attend religious services weekly or more are happier (43% very happy) than those who attend monthly or less (31%); or seldom or never (26%). This correlation between happiness and frequency of church attendance has been a consistent finding in the General Social Surveys taken over the years.”

5. Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals May Not Recognize
This is according to a 2007 paper by Jonathan Haidt, who is well-known for his Moral Foundations Theory. The basic idea is that there are five (later six) “foundations” that we use to evaluate morality: harm, fairness, liberty (the recent add-on), loyalty, authority, and purity. According to Haidt – formerly a liberal, but now a self-described centrist – conservatives emphasize all six categories equally, whereas liberals only recognize harm, fairness, and liberty. You can watch Haidt’s TED Talk here.

6. Abstaining from Pre-Marital Sex Leads to Fewer Divorces and More Stable Marriages
There are a number of large studies supporting this claim. According to Laumann et al, “For both genders, we find that virgins have dramatically more stable first marriages…Those who marry as non-virgins are also more likely – all other things being equal – to be unfaithful over the remainder of their life compared with those spouses who do marry as virgins.” According to Heaton, “Dissolution rates are substantially higher among those who initiate sexual activity before marriage.”

7. When it Comes to Church Attendance, Children Are More Likely to Imitate Their Fathers than Their Mothers
According to a large-scale Swiss study published in 2000, “It is the religious practice of the father of the family that, above all, determines the future attendance at or absence from church of the children.” The statistics are pretty eye-opening. In families where both parents were regular churchgoers, 33% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the mother was a regular churchgoer and the father was nonpracticing, only 2% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers. In families where the father was a regular churchgoer and the mother was nonpracticing, 44% of children grew up to become regular churchgoers.

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13 thoughts on “Seven Studies with Politically Incorrect Findings

  1. Pingback: Flotsam & Jetsam (12/4) | the Ink Slinger

  2. “Feel free to critique or comment on any of these…and let me know if there are others you think should have been included!”

    If you insist!

    5 (conservative and liberal moral frameworks)

    “According to Haidt – formerly a liberal, but now a self-described centrist –”

    Funny coincidence, I was re-reading Nicholas Kristof’s column about Haidt just yesterday. According to Kristof, Haidt is “a former liberal who says he became a centrist while writing the book.” If his research into the areas you mentioned is the very thing that made him change from liberal to centrist himself, I think that really says something, as far as it goes.

    4 and 6 (churchgoes happier, fornicators more likely to commit adultery or divorce down the road)

    I don’t want to get too improper in mixed company, but do I also remember reading that conservatives and Christians have more frequent sex and happier sex lives? This runs sharply contrary to a certain prevailing narrative (aren’t conservatives all uptight and maladjusted?), but that narrative is as persuasive as it is partly just because our culture has marinated in propaganda to that effect for at least seventy years (since C. S. Lewis wrote about it in Mere Christianity—and it wasn’t a new thing then, either):

    In the first place our warped natures, the devils who tempt us, and all the contemporary propaganda for lust, combine to make us feel that the desires we are resisting are so ‘natural’, so ‘healthy’, and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them. Poster after poster, film after film, novel after novel, associate the idea of sexual indulgence with the ideas of health, normality, youth, frankness, and good humour. Now this association is a lie. [Sex in itself is not bad—it’s normal and good.] The lie consists in the suggestion that any sexual act to which you are tempted at the moment is also healthy and normal.

    (Page 100 out of 227.)

    (I would link to the page, but Google Books has stopped allowing links!)

  3. Wow! I can’t say I’m surprised by the findings, but I surprised that these studies exist. What did they think they would prove? I’m going to have to read up on these a bit more. Thanks for sharing. ~w

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  5. Appreciate this. Doing some research myself on post-abortion mental health issues and finding how politically incorect outcomes have a hard time getting published

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