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  1. Public Concern about Terrorism: Fear, Worry, and Support for Anti-Muslim Policies

    In the era of 9/11, terrorist attacks occur with sufficient frequency and lethality to constitute a realistic threat to the well-being of the American public. Sensing this concern, politicians emphasize the threat of violent attacks to advance a platform of making public safety a priority. In this context, the authors assess the extent, sources, and emotional impact of the public’s concern about terrorism. On the basis of a national survey of 1,000 Americans, the authors examine levels of fear of a terrorist attack and worry about terrorism relative to other potential harms.

  2. How Religious Composition Around the World Differs between Younger and Older Populations

    This graphic shows differences in the religious composition of people around the world by age group. Religious change caused by demographic processes is more than a hypothetical future possibility. The consequences of demographic differences can be seen today by comparing the religious composition of younger and older populations.

  3. Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage

    Social scientists have long been interested in how cultural and structural characteristics shape individuals’ actions. We investigate this relationship by examining how macro- and micro-level religious effects shape individuals’ reports of premarital and extramarital sex. We look at how identifying with one of the major world religions—Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, or Judaism—and living in a nation with a Muslim culture shape the likelihood of sex outside of marriage.

  4. Does Religion Buffer the Effects of Discrimination on Distress for Religious Minorities? The Case of Arab Americans

    Religiosity is well documented as a coping resource that protects against the effects of discrimination on distress, but little is known about the utility of religious minorities’ religiosity. This study investigates if religious resources buffer the effect of discrimination on distress for Arab Americans and if that relationship differs based on religious minority status.

  5. Logics of Freedom: Debating Religious Freedom Laws and Gay and Lesbian Rights

    In the wake of marriage equality for same-sex couples, many states have introduced and passed laws that provide religious exemptions for certain services and benefits for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) persons. The authors use data from a general population survey of Nebraskans as a mixed-methods case study to examine public opinion of religious freedom laws.
  6. Contending with Capitalism: Fatwas and Neoliberal Ideology

    Neoliberal economic theorists posit that the economic sphere is to be differentiated from the social world and governed by its own rationality that is distinct from religious, ethical, social, or political considerations.
  7. Sacred Alters: The Effects of Ego Network Structure on Religious and Political Beliefs

    Does who we know impact how strongly we believe? The claim seems reasonable, but research linking social network composition to political beliefs has produced conflicting results. We argue that methodological differences in measuring close ties can explain these inconsistencies and that work on the sacred umbrella provides a useful framework for moving forward. The sacred umbrella argues that when people close to you share your religious beliefs, you are shielded from doubt and uncertainty; perhaps the same mechanism also operates for political views.
  8. Social Networks, Support, and Depressive Symptoms: Gender Differences among Clergy

    This study extends social-psychological research on social networks and mental health by examining cross-gender differences in social integration and depression among United Methodist clergy in North Carolina. Using data from the fifth wave of the Clergy Health Initiative panel survey, we used cross-group models to examine the association of depressive symptoms and network in-degree, out-degree, and perceived social isolation among men (N = 1,145) and women (N = 535) clergy. The analysis reveals gendered differences in this association.
  9. Challenging Evolution in Public Schools: Race, Religion, and Attitudes toward Teaching Creationism

    Researchers argue that white evangelical Christians are likely to support teaching creationism in public schools. Yet, less is known about the role religion may play in shaping attitudes toward evolution and teaching creationism among blacks and Latinos, who are overrepresented in U.S. conservative Protestant traditions. This study fills a gap in the literature by examining whether religious factors (e.g., religious affiliation and Biblical literalism) relate to differences in support for teaching creationism between blacks and Latinos compared to whites and other racial groups.
  10. Certainty, Uncertainty, or Indifference? Examining Variation in the Identity Narratives of Nonreligious Americans

    Much research in social science concludes that uncertainty surrounding individual beliefs and identities is negative and anxiety-inducing, and that people are continuously searching for certainty. In the context of rising rates of religious disaffiliation in the United States, and the rise of social and political organizations created to promote nonreligious beliefs and values, the nonreligious offer a strategic case to explore the meaning and lived experience of certainty and uncertainty surrounding belief and identity formation.