National context, parental socialization, and religious belief: Results from 15 nations
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SourceAmerican Sociological Review, 62, 4, (1997), pp. 639-659
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SW OZ NISCO SOC
American Sociological Review
How much does a nation's religious environment affect the religious beliefs of its citizens? Do religious nations differfrom secular nations in how beliefs are passed on from generation to generation? To find out, we use data from the 1991 International Social Survey Programme collected in 15 nations from 19,815 respondents. We use diagonal reference models estimated by nonlin-ear regression to control for a nation's level of economic development and exposure to Communism, andfor the individual's denomination, age, gender, and education. We find that (1) people living in religious nations will, in proportion to the religiosity of their fellow-citizens, acquire more orthodox beliefs than otherwise similar people living in secular nations; (2) in rela-tively secular nations, family religiosity strongly shapes children's religious beliefs, while the influence of national religious context is small; (3) in rela-tively religious nations family religiosity, although important, has less effect on children's beliefs than does national context. These three patterns hold in rich nations and in poor nations, in formerly Communist nations and in es-tablished democracies, and among old and young, men and women, the well-educated and the poorly educated, andfor Catholics and Protestants. Find-ings on the link between belief and church attendance are inconsistent with the influential "supply-side" analysis of differences between nations.
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