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Sociology of Religion, Books on Sociology of Religion

Religiosity is an important aspect of the life, particularly of older people. Religiosity is an important part of daily social and political life. Studies have documented the relationship between religiosity and depression among older people. 

Religiosity is the degree to which one believes in and is involved in religion. Like, attending church, mosque or temple, volunteering for the church, mosque or temple, giving donations to the church, mosque or temple, believing in the values, morals and mythology of their religion.

Methodological Pitfalls in the Study of Religiosity and Spirituality - Devon Berry, Department of Nursing, University of Cincinnati - Western Journal of Nursing Research, Vol. 27, No. 5, (2005).

The number of studies demonstrating a relationship between religiosity and spirituality and physical and psychological health have increased rapidly during the past decade.

There are significant disputes in the literature regarding the methodological quality of research in the area of religiosity and spirituality. Despite nursing scholars’ interest in this area, no thorough review of the methodological critiques is available.

The purpose of this study is to review areas of methodological difficulty in the study of religiosity and spirituality by identifying contemporary methodological critiques, critically evaluating the critiques and the underlying issues, and making suggestions for methodological advancement in the field. Three main areas of methodological critique exist: construct measurement, study design, and data analysis. Considerations of these critiques are instructive for nursing research done in the area of religiosity and spirituality.

Parental Religiosity, Parenting Style, and Adolescent Social Responsibility 
Marjorie Lindner Gunnoe, Calvin College 
E. Mavis Hetherington, University of Virginia 
David Reiss, George Washington University Medical Center - The Journal of Early Adolescence, Vol. 19, No. 2, 199-225 (1999)
Hypotheses that parental religiosity would predict authoritative parenting and adolescent social responsibility were tested using data from fathers, mothers, and adolescents 10 through 18 years of age from 486 mostly Caucasian middle-class families participating in the Non shared Environment Study. Ratings of authoritative and authoritarian parenting were provided by trained observers using the Family Interaction Global Coding System. Survey instruments included a new index of religiosity that assesses the degree to which religious beliefs are manifested in parents’daily lives. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that religiosity was associated positively with authoritative parenting for both parents. Mothers’ religiosity was associated negatively with authoritarian parenting; religiosity was unrelated to fathers’authoritarian parenting. Structural equation modeling indicated both direct effects and indirect effects (mediated by authoritative parenting) of mothers’ and fathers’ religiosity on adolescent social responsibility.

Maternal Religiosity, Adolescent Social Bonding, and Adolescent Alcohol Use 
Vangie A. Foshee, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 
Bryan R. Hollinger, Esperanza Health Center Philadelphia 
The Journal of Early Adolescence, Vol. 16, No. 4, 451-468 (1996)
This study tested two hypotheses: (a) that maternal religiosity would predict adolescent alcohol use and (b) that the relation between maternal religiosity and adolescent alcohol use would be mediated by the three Hirschi control theory elements (attachment, belief in conventional rules, and commitment to conventional activities). Panel data were used from a probability sample of 1,553 adolescents who were 12 through 14 years of age. Maternal religiosity was predictive negatively of alcohol use by adolescents. Maternal religious attendance was more predictive than was maternal religious importance. The association between maternal religiosity and adolescent alcohol use was not explained by race, gender, or age of the adolescent; maternal education, maternal religious denomination, or maternal cigarette smoking status; family structure; or the number of friends who smoke cigarettes; or by the elements of the Hirschi control theory. It appears that maternal religiosity had an effect on adolescent alcohol use through mechanisms other than those tested in the study.

Religiosity, Adherence to Traditional Culture, and Psychological Well-Being Among African American Elders 
Yuri Jang, Amy R. Borenstein, David A. Chiriboga, Karon Phillips, James A. Mortimer, University of South Florida 
Journal of Applied Gerontology, Vol. 25, No. 5, 343-355 (2006)
To expand our knowledge on the role of religiosity in African American culture, this study assessed the associations among religiosity, adherence to traditional African American culture, and psychological well-being. Regression models of psychological well-being, indexed with depressive symptoms and life satisfaction, were tested using a representative sample of 255 community-dwelling African American older adults in Hillsborough County, Florida. The direct effect of religiosity was found to be significant for both depressive symptoms and life satisfaction. A significant interaction between religiosity and adherence to African American culture was observed in the prediction of life satisfaction. Further analyses indicated that the positive effect of religiosity on life satisfaction was stronger in the more traditional group compared to that in the less traditional group. The results demonstrate that the benefits of religiosity do not exist uniformly across all African Americans but vary by the level of adherence to traditional culture.

Effects of Religiosity on Patients' Perceptions of Do-Not-Resuscitate Status 
Maria A. Sullivan, M.D., PH.D., Philip R. Muskin, M.D., Shara J. Feldman, B.A., and Elizabeth Haase, M.D. 
Psychosomatics 45:119-128, April 2004 2004 The Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine 
Forty-eight oncology inpatients participated in a survey designed to characterize their understanding of and beliefs about do-not-resuscitate (DNR) decisions and to identify dimensions of religiosity associated with moral beliefs about DNR decisions. Seventy-five percent of the patients believed they understood the meaning of "DNR," but only 32% were able to provide an accurate definition. Seventeen percent believed that DNR decisions are morally wrong, and 23% believed that they are equivalent to suicide. Those who lacked an accurate understanding of DNR status were significantly more likely to perceive them as morally wrong. Gender, but not religious denomination, was significantly related to patients' attitudes about the morality of DNR decisions. The belief that DNR decisions are morally wrong was predicted by certain religious practices, including near-daily meditation, near-daily thinking about God, and the current practice of meditation, and by endorsement of the statement, "My faith sometimes restricts my action."

Religiosity, Psychosocial Adjustment, and Subjective Burden of Persons Who Care for Those With Mental Illness 
Aaron B. Murray-Swank, Ph.D., Alicia Lucksted, Ph.D., Deborah R. Medoff, Ph.D., Ye Yang, M.S., Karen Wohlheiter, M.S. and Lisa B. Dixon, M.D., M.P.H. - Psychiatr Serv 57:361-365, March 2006
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to characterize the nature of religious and spiritual support received by family caregivers of persons with serious mental illness and to test hypotheses that religiosity would be associated with caregiver adjustment. METHODS: Eighty-three caregivers who participated in a study of the Family to Family Education Program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness were assessed at baseline in terms of their religiosity and receipt of spiritual support in coping. Hierarchical regression was used to test hypotheses that religiosity would be associated with better adjustment, with confounding variables controlled for. RESULTS: Thirty-seven percent of participants reported that they had received spiritual support in coping with their relative's illness in the previous three months. When age, race, education, and gender were controlled for, religiosity was associated with less depression and better self-esteem and self-care. Personal religiosity was a stronger predictor of adjustment than religious service attendance. CONCLUSIONS: Family caregivers of persons with serious mental illness often turn to spirituality for support, and religiosity may be an important contributor to caregiver adjustment. Collaborative partnerships between mental health professionals and religious and spiritual communities represent a powerful and culturally sensitive resource for meeting the support needs of family members of persons with serious mental illness.

On the Meaning and Measurement of Religiosity in Consumer Research 
Robert E. Wilkes, John J. Burnett, Roy D. Howell, Texas Tech University 
Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 14, No. 1, 47-56 (1986)
The role of religiousness as a variable in models of consumer behavior is not well-established. Research findings in this area tend to be sparse and conflicting, and measurement issues have yet to be addressed. This article reports on an empirical investigation of religiosity in a causal modeling framework. The results suggest that religiosity is a viable consumer behavior construct in that it (1) did correlate with the life-style variables selected; (2) contributed directly to the model along with sex, age, and income; and (3) was successfully operationalized through multiple measures.

Consumer Religiosity and Retail Store Evaluative Criteria 
Stephen W McDaniel, John J. Burnett, Texas A&M University - Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol.18, No.2, (1990)
Consumer religiosity, which includes the religious com mitment and religious affiliation of consumers, may be a significant construct in explaining retail store patronage. The present study used several measures of religiosity to investigate the influence of this possible segmentation vari able on consumer evaluation of the importance of various retail department store attributes. Support was found for the religious commitment construct but not for religious affilia tion. The most consistent relationship found was between religious commitment and the importance placed by the consumer on sales personnel friendliness/assistance. Direc tion for future research is provided.

Religiosity and depression in older people: Evidence from underprivileged refugee and non-refugee communities in Lebanon - Chaaya, M.; Sibai, A. M.; Fayad, R.; El-Roueiheb, Z., Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut - Aging and Mental Health, Volume 11, Number 1, January 2007, pp. 37-44(8)
Religiosity is an important aspect of the life of older people, particularly in the Arab region where religiosity is an important part of daily social and political life. Studies have documented the relationship between religiosity and depression among older people, but none in the region. A total of 740 persons aged 60 + were interviewed in three poor urban areas of Lebanon, one of which was a Palestinian refugee camp. The questionnaire included five items on religiosity covering organizational and intrinsic religiosity. Depression was assessed using the 15-item Geriatric Depression Score (GDS-15). Depression was prevalent in 24% of the older persons interviewed with the highest proportion being from the Palestinian refugee camp (31%). Results suggest that only organizational religiosity was related to depression and this pattern was only significant among the refugee population. Religious practice is discussed as an indicator of social solidarity rather than an aspect of religiosity. Minority groups may rely on religious stratagems to cope with their distress more than other groups.

Religiosity and Remission of Depression in Medically Ill Older Patients 
Harold G. Koenig, M.D., M.H.Sc., Linda K. George, Ph.D. and Bercedis L. Peterson, Ph.D. 
Am J Psychiatry 155:536-542, April 1998
OBJECTIVE: The effects of religious belief and activity on remission of depression were examined in medically ill hospitalized older patients. METHOD: Consecutive patients aged 60 years or over who had been admitted to medical inpatient services at a university medical center were screened for depressive symptoms. Of 111 patients scoring 16 or higher on the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, 94 were diagnosed with depressive disorder (DSM-III major depression or subsyndromal depression) by a psychiatrist using a structured psychiatric interview. After hospital discharge, depressed patients were followed up by telephone at 12-week intervals four times. At each follow-up contact, criterion symptoms were reassessed, and changes in each symptom over the interval since last contact were determined. The median follow-up time for 87 depressed patients was 47 weeks. Religious variables were examined as predictors of time to remission by means of a multivariate Cox model, with controls for demographic, physical health, psychosocial, and treatment factors. RESULTS: During the follow-up period, 47 patients (54.0%) had remissions; the median time to remission was 30 weeks. Intrinsic religiosity was significantly and independently related to time to remission, but church attendance and private religious activities were not. Depressed patients with higher intrinsic religiosity scores had more rapid remissions than patients with lower scores. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, greater intrinsic religiosity independently predicted shorter time to remission. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report in which religiosity has been examined as a predictor of outcome of depressive disorder.

Age and Religiosity: Evidence from a Three-Wave Panel Analysis 
Amy Argue, David R. Johnson, Lynn K. White
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 423-435
Abstract: Using pooled time series with random and fixed effects regression models, we examine the effect of age, period, and family life course events on a measure of religious influence on daily life in a panel of 1,339 adults interviewed three times between 1980 and 1992. The results show a significant, non-linear increase in religiosity with age, with the greatest increase occurring between ages 18 and 30. We also found a significant decline in religiosity between 1980 and 1988, but no evidence of a period effect between 1988 and 1992. Comparison of fixed and random effects solutions found little evidence that a cohort effect accounted for the age findings. The age effect was significantly stronger for Catholics than Protestants and the lower religiosity of males was also significantly stronger for Catholics. Adding children in the range from age two to ten significantly increased religiosity, but family life course events accounted for little if any of the age effect.

Religiosity and self-esteem among older adults
N Krause, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, USA. 
Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, Vol 50, Issue 5 P236-P246
The relationship between religiosity and self-esteem in later life was examined in this study. Previous research in this area provides conflicting findings. Some studies indicate that greater religious involvement tends to bolster feelings of self-worth, whereas others suggest that more religious involvement is associated with less positive self-evaluations. A new perspective is tested in the present study which predicts that there may be a nonlinear U-shaped relationship between these measures. More specifically, it is proposed that self-esteem is highest among elderly people with the greatest, as well as the least, amount of religious commitment and lowest among older adults with only modest levels of religiosity. The data tend to largely support this new view. However, feelings of self-worth tend to be lowest for those with very little religious commitment rather than those with moderate levels of religious involvement.

Stress, Religiosity, and Psychological Well-Being among Older Blacks 
Neal Krause, PhD, University of Michigan 
Journal of Aging and Health, Vol. 4, No. 3, 412-439 (1992)
The prominent position of the church in the Black community coupled with high levels of religious involvement among elderly Blacks suggests that religiosity may be an important coping resource for members of this minority group. However, there has been little research on this topic. Findings from a recent nationwide survey of older Blacks indicate that religiosity tends to counterbalance or offset the deleterious effects of physical health problems and deaths among family members by bolstering feelings of self-worth among elderly Blacks. These findings were observed after the effects of informal emotional support had been controlled statistically.

Is the Religiosity-Delinquency Relationship Spurious? A Test of Arousal and Social Control Theories 
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 31, No. 1, 92-123 (1994)
Criminologists have long observed an inverse relationship between personal religiosity and self-reported delinquency. However, some scholars would argue that the observed relationship is spurious. Two claims of spuriousness dominate. First, arousal theory argues that individuals vary in their demand for arousal. Those requiring high levels of stimulation are said to be bored with church but aroused by delinquency. Likewise, those who require less stimulation will find comfort in church and exhibit little delinquency. Second, it is charged that the negative effect of religiosity on delinquency is simply the by-product of general social control. Should other more proximate measures of social control be included, the impact of religiosity would wash out. The authors examine these two claims using self-report data from a sample of approximately 1,600 high school students in Oklahoma. OLS and LISREL analyses produce findings which reveal strong support for both claims of spuriousness. When controlling for both arousal theory and social control indicators, the effect of religiosity is reduced to insignificance in the case of assault, theft, vandalism, illicit drug use, and truancy, although it remains significant regarding the use of legalized substances like tobacco and alcohol. In addition to supporting claims of spuriousness in the religion-delinquency relationship, the authors demonstrate: the primacy of self- and social controls, and the utility of an arousal/thrill-seeking perspective in understanding causes and motivations for juvenile delinquency.

An Examination of a Reciprocal Relationship Between Religiosity and Different Forms of Delinquency Within a Theoretical Model - BRENT B. BENDA - Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 34, No. 2, 163-186 (1997)
This study of 1,093 adolescents from six public high schools does not support the argument that property crimes, crimes against persons, and use of alcohol and other drugs are behavior manifestations of an interrelated constellation or syndrome of delinquency. A factor analysis clearly shows that the various forms of delinquency studied load on three distinct factors. In addition, whereas the hypothesized theoretical model does explain considerable variation in frequency of alcohol use and of criminal behavior (22 percent and 24 percent, respectively), it does not account for much variance in drug use (6 percent). Whereas there are reciprocal relationships between religiosity and drug use and religiosity and crime, only the feedback effect of religiosity on alcohol use is significant. These latter findings suggest that future studies need to examine reciprocal relationships and that the relationship between alcohol use and religiosity needs to be reexamined conceptually and empirically in future studies.

Religiosity is associated with hippocampal but not amygdala volumes in patients with refractory epilepsy 
J Wuerfel, E S Krishnamoorthy, R J Brown, L Tebartz van Elst and M R Trimble
Raymond Way Neuropsychiatry Research Group, Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London, UK
L Lemieux, M Koepp, National Society for Epilepsy Centre for Epilepsy, Chalfont St. Peter, Buckinghamshire, UK
Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 2004;75:640-642
ABSTRACT: Objective: To assess the relationship between the behavioural triad of hyper-religiosity, hypergraphia and hyposexuality in epilepsy, and volumes of the mesial temporal structures. 
Method: Magnetic resonance images were obtained from 33 patients with refractory epilepsy and mesial temporal structure volumes assessed. Amygdala and hippocampal volumes were then compared in high and low scorers on the religiosity, writing, and sexuality sub-scales of the Neurobehavioural Inventory. 
Results: Patients with high ratings on the religiosity scale had significantly smaller right hippocampi. Religiosity scores rated by both patient and carer showed a significant negative correlation with right hippocampal volumes in this group. There were no other differences in amygdala or hippocampal volumes between these groups, or between high and low scorers on the writing and sexuality sub-scales. 
Conclusions: These findings suggest that right hippocampal volumes are negatively correlated with religiosity in patients with refractory epilepsy.

An Intricate Triangle - Religiosity, Volunteering, and Social Capital: The European Perspective, the Case of Finland 
Anne Birgitta Yeung, University of Helsinki 
Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 3, 401-422 (2004)
Although previous literature has dealt with religiosity, voluntarism, and social capital from several angles, only a few empirical studies have focused on this tri-dimensional linkage. This research aims to add to the literature by including various forms of religiosity and social capital. Using survey data (N = 1,038), this article investigates four volunteer groups (church volunteers, volunteers in both church and other contexts, non-church volunteers, nonvolunteers) and answers three questions: How do their sociodemographic and religious backgrounds differ, how does religiosity affect the probability of belonging to these groups, and how do these groups differ in regard to their social capital? The article indicates that religiosity affects choosing between the four volunteer groups and that these groups maintain different kinds of social capital.

Study of Religiosity and Spirituality.