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Gender, Risk, and Religiousness: Can Power Control Provide the Theory?

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Collett and Lizardo (2009) offer a model of gender differences that revisits and expands earlier research, in particular nascent ideas used by Miller and Hoffmann (1995) that were borrowed, in part, from a power-control theory of delinquency and crime. However, I am skeptical of their attempt to apply power-control theory as a general explanation of gender differences in religiousness. In this response piece, I first set the context by describing how Alan Miller and I initially approached our risk and religion work. I then point out where I think the research stream went awry and why recent studies of risk preferences and religion have failed to provide convincing evidence one way or the other. Finally, I offer an appraisal of Collett and Lizardo's work, with particular attention to why adopting power-control theory should be viewed with caution. I conclude with suggestions for future research on gender and religiousness.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology Brigham Young University

Publication date: June 1, 2009


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