Role of Religiosity in the Lives of the Low-Income Population: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. Potential Pathways of the Effect of Religiosity

07/10/2009

Within the sociology and psychology of religion, there is a long history of theorizing about how organizational and nonorganizational religiosity can foster normative behaviors. The basic logic is that religiosity can have direct or indirect effects on behavior, and sometimes both. Several scholars hypothesize that individual and organizational religiosity can provide indirect benefits that in turn affect positive behaviors. The hypothesized pathways through which religiosity influences behaviors can operate positively or negatively at the individual, family and/or community levels.

The major pathways described in the research literature include the following:

  • Direct effect of organizational religiosity on outcomes
  • Direct effect of individual religiosity on outcomes
  • Indirect (or mediating) effect of individual religiosity on outcomes
  • Indirect (or mediating) effect of organizational religiosity on outcomes
  • Effect of family-level and community-level religiosity on outcomes
  • Moderating effect of religiosity on outcomes

These pathways comprise the dominant theories about how religiosity can foster normative behaviors. The conceptual model for each outcome area will be described specifically in later sections, which also will show that the vast majority of the empirically tested pathways are general in nature, rather than religiously specific.

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