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Sex and Gender Traditionalism Among Conservative Protestants: Does the Difference Make a Difference?

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Recent years have witnessed the resurgence of conservative Protestantism and its adherents’ advocacy of gender traditionalism. Scholarship has traced conservative Protestant women's support for gender traditionalism to biblical inerrancy while linking conservative Protestant men's support for gender traditionalism to their denominational affiliation. Our study revisits this issue with more recent data, more sophisticated analytical techniques (structural equation modeling), and a refined measure of theological conservatism (accounting for beliefs pertaining to scripture, sin, and salvation). We find that theological conservatism is significantly related to gender traditionalism among conservative Protestant women but not men. For men, strength of denominational affiliation is more strongly related to traditionalist ideology. Strength of affiliation also affects gender ideology for women, but its effects, as well as those of religious attendance, are largely indirect through theological conservatism. We discuss these sex-specific patterns of religious influence in the context of conservative Protestantism exhibiting characteristics of a gendered institution.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology University of Texas at San Antonio 2: Department of Sociology Colorado State University

Publication date: 2009-12-01

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