Friday, March 12, 2010

Catholic Gals "Gone Wild"? Not Really

There was a fair amount of heavy breathing about a "study" which indicated that ladies of the Catholic persuasion were more inclined to 'hook up' than others, during their college years.


  • A “hook up” is very widely defined as “when a girl and a guy get together for a physical encounter and don’ necessarily expect anything further” (p. 540). As the authors caution, “‘Hooking up’ may refer to a broad range of physical acts ranging from kissing to sexual intercourse” (p. 548). It is difficult to know just what respondents are reporting in responding “yes.”
  • The study, published in 2009, is based on a telephone survey conducted in 2001.
  • The sample is national and consists of randomly selected women attending four-year colleges at that time (men are not included in the sample).
  • The original sample includes 1,000 respondents at 195 colleges and universities. After removing Mormon respondents and colleges and accounting for non-response to questions used in the analysis there are 919 respondents studied.
  • A total of 38% of the 919 respondents reported that they had “hooked up” since they began college.
  • A total of 31% of women in the sample are Catholic (287 respondents)—yet most of these respondents attend non-Catholic colleges and universities.
  • Only 6% of all respondents—Catholic and non-Catholic—attended a Catholic college or university (52 respondents).
  • Thus, there are only interviews with 39 Catholic women attending Catholic colleges in the study. A conservative estimate of the number of Catholic women attending Catholic college at the time is 85,000. The margin of sampling error for 39 interviews generalizing to a population of 85,000 is +/- 15.7 percentage points.
  • Furthermore, these large margins of error are compounded by the small number of Catholic colleges these women attended at the institutional level. The randomly selected respondents ended up only being in attendance at a total of 16 Catholic colleges and universities when more than 240 existed at the time (resulting in a margin of sampling error at the level of the institution of +/- 23.7 percentage points).
Evidently the scientific method for finding AGW has adherents in the social sciences, too.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Worried that your daughters are "putting out", DaddyZero?