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Title page for ETD etd-03262012-015020

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Archer, Ashley L.
URN etd-03262012-015020
Title Reciprocity Between Individual Differences and the Social Environment: Evidence Linking Personality With Religion
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Tony N. Brown Committee Chair
George Becker Committee Member
  • social psychology
  • personality
  • religion
Date of Defense 2012-09-01
Availability unrestricted
Some literature suggests that personality is genetic and thus inherent to individual psychology; as such, prior research regarding the relationship between personality and religion examines only how personality affects religion. Employing a sociological framework where the individual and environment are endogenous, this manuscript investigates how the social environment, as indicated by religion, influences personality. Using nationally representative and longitudinal data from Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) I and II surveys, I find that personality is a statistically significant correlate of religion, but the association varies widely based on the dimension of religion measured and respondents’ age. Furthermore, analyses confirm that personality is unstable as respondents get older and that prior levels of religion predict changes in personality. I conclude by inviting sociologists and psychologists to adopt an interdisciplinary approach in future studies linking personality with religion.
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