A Power-Control Theory of Gender and Religiosity
The fact that women are more religious than men is one of the most consistent findings in the sociology of religion. Miller and Stark (2002) propose that a gender difference in risk preference of physiological origin might explain this phenomenon. While acknowledging the utility of their risk-preference mechanism, we believe that their assumption regarding the genesis of this difference is a premature concession to biology. Returning to Miller's original paper on gender, risk, and religiosity, we draw on power-control theory (PCT), developed in the work of John Hagan and colleagues, to introduce a plausible socialization account for these differences. We evaluate these claims using data from the General Social Survey. Women raised by high-socioeconomic status (SES) mothers are less religious than women raised by low-education mothers, but mother's SES has little effect on men's chances of being irreligious and father's SES has a negligible effect on the gender difference in religiosity.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Sociology University of Notre Dame
Publication date: 2009-06-01