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Religiousness, Spiritual Seeking, and Authoritarianism: Findings from a Longitudinal Study

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We use long-term longitudinal data from a sample (N = 155) of older age mainline Protestants, Catholics, and a small number of conservative Protestants to investigate the relations among church-centered religiousness, spiritual seeking, and authoritarianism. In late adulthood, religiousness was related positively, and spiritual seeking was related negatively, to authoritarianism; these relations held even after excluding conservative Protestants and controlling for education, gender, age cohort, and personal flexibility. We find a similar pattern using measures of religiousness, spiritual seeking, and control variables scored in early adulthood, a time interval of close to 40 years.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Paul Wink is Professor, Department of Psychology, Wellesley College, Wellesley. 2: Michele Dillon is Professor, Department of Sociology, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824., Email: 3: Adrienne Prettyman is a student at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA 02481.

Publication date: 2007-09-01

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