Journal Article

Theodicy and Life Satisfaction among Black and White Americans

Marc A. Musick

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 61, issue 3, pages 267-287
Published in print January 2000 | ISSN: 1069-4404
Published online January 2000 | e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Theodicy and Life Satisfaction among Black and White Americans

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A growing body of literature has tested the linkages between various facets of religion and individual well-being. By examining the impact of religious theodicy on life satisfaction, this paper addresses one of the more understudied issues in religion and health research. Extant theory would suggest that certain theodicies (i.e., those that pit their adherents against non-believers and secular institutions) are associated with worse well-being. The results indicate that among Black respondents, a theodicy emphasizing evil and sin is not associated with life satisfaction. In contrast, for White respondents, this theodicy is associated with worse life satisfaction. Several moderating effects are also tested. The results indicate that among White respondents, stressful circumstances and church attendance moderate the relationship between theodicy and life satisfaction.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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