Skip to comments.Large differences in “hookup culture” between Catholic/Secular college students and Evangelical ones
Posted on 11/27/2013 5:57:51 AM PST by Gamecock
Dr. Donna Freitas, perhaps the nations leading expert on university hookup culture, has being doing research among college students and on college campuses regarding sex, the hookup culture, and student religiosity for several years. She has produced many scholarly publications and studies. One consistent finding she has observed is that evangelical college students are significantly less likely to hookup than any of their counterparts (Catholic or secular). Why? An excerpt from an interview:
The attitudes toward sexuality on evangelical campuses were remarkably different from everywhere else. Everyone is struggling with sex, but they do it in very different ways.
Its impossible on an evangelical campus to have a conversation about sex without also talking about faith. This is simply because, at evangelical campuses, the Christian tradition stands at the very center of who the students are. Every decision is made by consulting that core identity. They dont think about sex except in light of their faith. Its just who they are: they are Christians. For these students, you cannot even think about choosing your major without consulting your faith. This is empowering, in many ways. These students have a strong sense of who they are, and where to go for advice. Most of the time, this is really great. But with regard to sex, it can be exceedingly stressful.
The opposite is true of all the other campuses I visited for the study, and it holds true even for the forty-five or so other campuses I have visited since the book was published. Whereas evangelicals cannot think about their sex liveswithout religion, students at secular or Catholic institutions cannot think about their sex lives with religion. The notion that religion would have anything important or useful to say to them about sexual decision-making is almost impossible to take seriously.
She also finds this:
Why such strong differences between evangelicals and Catholics? From another summary of her work:
The only exception Freitas found to the hook-up culture was at evangelical colleges: Life at an evangelical school is, in a sense, enclosed by the Christian faith in a manner suggestive of what sociologist of religion Peter Berger calls the sacred canopy. Like the moral communities that Burdette and her colleagues identify, Freitas discovered that evangelical campus culture is religiously infused on every level. Students who attend evangelical schools tend to expect that their peers are Christian, attend church, study the Bible, and pray often. Within evangelical student campus culture, the focus is on courtship and marriage while emphasizing chastity. Freitas says that a quest for purity and chastity reigns supreme on these campuses.
In contrast, when Freitas talked with students on Catholic campuses, she found a general sense of apathy toward the Catholic faith and its teachings on sexuality. Many responded with laughter, noting the impractical, unrealistic, and archaic nature of the Catholic teaching on contraception and pre marital sex. Unlike evangelical students, many Catholic students enter college without a strong foundation in Scripture, and many lack knowledge of Catholic moral teachings. While many evangelical students have a lifetime of Bible camps and strong Christian schools, few Catholic students bring a similarly strong catechetical background with them to college. Weakened teaching in theology or Scripture at the Catholic elementary and high school levels have left many Catholic young people ill-equipped to deal with the culture that greets them on a Catholic campus. And while this does not excuse the problems on Catholic campuses, it is clear that evangelical students arrive on campus much more biblically awareand better-prepared theologically and scripturallythan most Catholic students are when they arrive on campus.
From another study (cited below*), we find that religious feelings are not an important factor in sexual purity among college students. What appears to matter is religious practice and teachings (spiritual disciplines).
I would also just like to point out, by way of encouragement, to evangelical parents a major implication of her research. Biblical Christianity works. To a significant degree, spiritual discipline and diligence by parents and churches in inculcating Christian teaching and practice among their youth is used by God to produce greater purity (and happiness). Apparently, there is empirical truth to the proverb (Prov. 22:6): Train up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it later in life.
*Penhollow, T., Yoiung, M., & Bailey, W. (2007). Relationship between Religiosity and Hooking Up Behavior. American Journal of Health Education, 38(6), 338+.
Troy Gibson is a Political Science Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, specializing in Religion and Politics in America. He attends Woodland Presbyterian Church (PCA) with his wife, Natalie, and three children, Caleb, Noah, and Sarah Ann.
I wish the author defined what a Catholic University is. Does the author mean Notre Dame, Georgetown, etc. If so, then the results are not suprising.
IBCHA - In before the *Catholic haters* accusations.
Good article... A classic example of how Catholcs can learn from out Evangelical brothers and sisters. I bet if one pulled our Fransican University at Steubenville it would look more like an Evangelical College than a Catholic one because of an approach that embraces the reality of the Catholic faith and combines it with the new evangelization.
Some “Catholic” schools have not really been Catholic in 40 years.
More about the author of the study:
Donna Freitas received her Ph.D. from Catholic University, and is presently an assistant professor of religion at Boston University. Her extensive research into romance and sexuality on religious and secular college campuses led to the book, Sex and the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance and Religion on America's College Campuses. Donna has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Christian Century, and Christianity Today. She also writes fiction, and her newest piece, This Gorgeous Game, will be available in May
Likewise it would have been useful to know which Christian colleges were selected.
However, the mindset he describes fits with the Christian colleges I know, as well as the Evangelical churches I've attended, which provide the students at the Christian colleges.
When Christ is the focus of your life, everything in your life comes under His scrutiny and is considered in light of how it affects your relationship with Him.
Maybe that will defuse the accusations of bias.
Although I really suspect that we’ll see more comments about *failed Catholic*, *self-ex-communicated*, and *poorly catechized*, and *CINO*.
The more secular the culture becomes, the more “impossible” righteousness becomes.
My eldest son just graduated from Franciscan. There is no "hookup culture" at Franciscan.
In addition how many of these “catholic” students go to church more often than Easter and Christmas. Have they spent any time in the confessional? Do they know and receive the sacraments? The commandments?
Before making generalizations about students at catholic schools it is helpful to have a meaningful definition of a) what is a catholic school? and b) what do these catholic students believe and how close is it to what the church actually teaches.
I wonder i fthe study included the few Catholic collegs taht strive to maintain a core religious Catholic identity? Take a look at Christendom, Thomas Aquinas College, Ave Maria and Franciscan U. of Steubenville and your results may be a bit different.
As for "condoms interfer[ing] with the natural order," that's a little hard to deny unless you have a condom growing out of your body.
Catholic University is the name of the school. It’s in DC
I don't know whether you can find out exactly which schools Freitas studied or not (I read her book, and don't recall a list, but maybe it's there).
If you can, cross-reference it with the Cardinal Newman Society's list of "authentically Catholic colleges" and get back to us. You won't find much of an overlap, IMO.
It should be obvious to any conscious reader that someone who dismisses Catholic teaching on sexuality as "silly" or "outmoded" isn't operating out of a surfeit of devotion to Catholic teaching.
My hubby and I went to Kent State. My kids went to Evangelical colleges: Huntington U in Indiana, Taylor in Indiana and Grove City, PA.
The differences in the cultures between those Evangelical Universities and the one we grew up in at Kent State are astounding, and very encouraging. I can’t speak with any direct knowledge about the sexual practices, because I know parents are usually the last to know of such things. But I just notice the modest dress, proper demeanor, pure language, and honesty. Students leave their iphones and book bags on cafeteria tables to reserve their spots with no fear of theft, and doors are rarely locked.
Grove City has “partner” dances during the week and most weekends. The kids have ample opportunity to learn how swing and ballroom dancing, which is all the rage there.
What do you call someone that uses the pattern method? A parent!
If you are in an atmosphere where chastity is encouraged then you find is easier to be chaste.
If you are in an atmosphere where hook-ups are common you find it easier to be promiscuous.
I suspect the real reason is that Catholic campuses have more alcohol.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.