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Explaining Religious Effects on Distress Among African Americans

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This study applies Smith's (2003a) theory of religious effects to account for the link between religiosity and distress. Using a latent-variable structural equation modeling approach, we analyze survey data from a nationally representative sample of African-American adults and find empirical support for our hypotheses. In terms of anger, depression, and anxiety, religiously committed African Americans exhibit lower levels of distress than their less religious or nonreligious counterparts. Highly religious African Americans report higher levels of sense of control and social support, which consequently reduces distress. We also find that the indirect and salutary effects of religiosity via social support are due to support from family and friends as well as from other religious people.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge 2: Baylor University, Waco, TX

Publication date: June 1, 2004


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