Journal Article

Religious Activities and Changes in the Sense of Divine Control: Dimensions of Social Stratification as Contingencies*

Scott Schieman and Alex Bierman

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 68, issue 4, pages 361-381
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2007 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/socrel/68.4.361
Religious Activities and Changes in the Sense of Divine Control: Dimensions of Social Stratification as Contingencies*

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Using data from adults age 65 and older in the District of Columbia and two adjoining counties in Maryland, we examine the effects of the frequency of religious attendance and prayer on changes in the sense of divine control. We also examine the role of two core dimensions of social stratification— race and socioeconomic status (SES)—as contingencies. We observe that race and SES independently modify the effects of religious activities on changes in the sense of divine control. Specifically, low levels of religious activities are associated with significantly larger decreases in the sense of divine control among whites compared to African-Americans. Likewise, low levels of religious activities are also associated with significant decreases in the sense of divine control among individuals with high SES, net of race-linked contingencies. Conversely, high levels of religious activities are associated with stability in the sense of divine control among both whites and African-Americans and across SES levels. We discuss the theoretical implications of our findings for the linkages among religious activities and beliefs across different dimensions of social stratification

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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