Work, Family, and Religious Involvement for Men and Women

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Do family formation and social establishment affect religious involvement in the same way for men and women, given increasing individualism and rapid changes in work and family roles? Using a random sample of adults from upstate New York (N = 1,006), our research builds on previous work in this area by using multiple measures of religious involvement, using multiple measures of individualism and beliefs about work and family roles, placing men and women in their work context, and looking at the relationships separately by gender. Men’s religious involvement is associated with marriage, children, and full-time employment, signaling social establishment and maturity. Women’s involvement is higher when there are school-aged children in the home, but it is also more intertwined with the salience of religion and with an assessment that religious institutions are a good fit with their values and lifestyles, including egalitarian views of gender. For men and women, views of religious authority and the role of religious institutions in the socialization of children are associated differently with religious involvement at different life stages. We call for further research to understand the gendered nature of religious involvement and the role of beliefs about work, family, and religion in explaining why individuals choose to be involved in religious institutions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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