The Catholic University of America

 Christine Marie Bhutta

Final Examination of Christine Marie Bhutta

For the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Monday, April 5, 2010 2:00 p.m., Caldwell Room 125



William D. Dinges, Ph.D.


The Role of Affective Religiosity in Marginal Catholic Identity

Research suggests that the religiously inactive are more likely to return to active participation if they continue to self-identify as members (“marginal” members) than if they relinquish their self-identification with the group (“former” members).  However, very little research distinguishes these groups or explores other differences between them. This dissertation attempts to expose the factors that inform the religious identity of marginal and former Catholics.  Binomial logit analysis supports the hypothesis that “affective religiosity” – emotional attachment to the Catholic Church – predicts whether inactive Catholics retain or relinquish their self-identification with the group.  Ordered logit analyses partially support the hypothesis that marginal Catholics with strong affective ties are more likely than those with weak affective ties to return to active participation, marry another Catholic, and raise their children Catholic.  Web-based personal interviews supplement the empirical findings.