Journal Article

Overcoming Status Distinctions? Religious Involvement, Social Class, Race, and Ethnicity in Friendship Patterns

Robert Wuthnow

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 64, issue 4, pages 423-442
Published in print January 2003 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2003 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/3712334
Overcoming Status Distinctions? Religious Involvement, Social Class, Race, and Ethnicity in Friendship Patterns

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Two competing hypotheses are derived about the possible relationships between religious involvement and friendships that overcome status barriers with people of lower social status or who have been socially marginalized. Drawing on data from a large national survey, I examine the relationships between saying that one has a personal friend who is a manual worker, on welfare, an African American, or Hispanic and frequency of attendance at religious services, taking into account one's religious preference, gender, race and ethnicity, education, income, and overall number of friends. The results suggest that regular attendance at religious services does little to promote these kinds of friendships, controlling for other factors, but that these friendships do remain influenced by religious tradition. Religious involvement may encourage status-bridging friendships by motivating people to become involved in volunteer work.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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