Nonreligious Group Factors Versus Religious Belief in Predicting Prosociality
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AbstractPrevious research suggests that religious belief is associated prosocial behavior. However, studies have often used measures of belief without separating general group participation or compared group with non-group members. Another major consideration pertains to the group identity of the target of the behavior. Finally, studies of prosociality frequently do not control for demographic and social characteristics. The present study compares members of secular (n=365) and church groups (n=298) located around a major metropolitan area in a southern U.S. state on measures of both in- and outgroup-related prosocial attitudes and behaviors, controlling for these confounding variables. Initial comparison indicated numerous differences between church and secular group members. However, multiple regression controls diminished many of the apparent differences on prosocial outcomes. Religiosity also predicted parochial rather than universal prosocial behaviors.