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The Sense of Divine Control and Psychological Distress: Variations Across Race and Socioeconomic Status

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This study examines race and socioeconomic status (SES) differences in levels of the sense of divine control and its association with psychological distress. Using data from adults aged 65 and older in the District of Columbia and two adjoining counties in Maryland, we document that levels of the sense of divine control are highest among African Americans and individuals of low SES. Although the association between SES and perceived divine control is more negative among whites net of statistical adjustments for other indicators of religiosity and stressors, these conditions contribute modestly to the race × SES interaction effect. In addition, the sense of divine control is associated negatively with distress among low-SES African Americans and positively with distress among low-SES white elders. These patterns remain stable net of other forms of religiosity, an array of stressors, and the personal resources of the sense of mastery and self-esteem. Our findings elaborate on social stratification differences in religiosity and their different associations with well-being.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Tetyana Pudrovska is a Ph.D. student in sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison., Email: [email protected] 2: Leonard I. Pearlin is Research Scientist & Graduate Professor in Sociology at the University of Maryland–College Park., Email: [email protected] 3: Christopher G. Ellison is Professor of Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 December 2006

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