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Religious Social Networks

This refers to the religious affiliation and ideological composition of people within one’s social network.  A wide variety of studies have indicated that social networks play an important role in social processes such as conversion to new ideological positions, apostasy, and the overall maintenance of worldviews.  Network influence can be examined in a variety of ways using both qualitative and quantitative methods.  In general, the closer those in one’s network are to the actor, and the more the relationships are valued, the stronger their influence.  Based on this body of research, the influence of social networks on religious preference, ideology, and religiosity is one of the most established findings in the sociology of religion.

Citations:

Cornwall, Marie.  1989.  “The Determinants of Religious Behavior: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Test.”  Social Forces 68(2):572-592.

Lofland, John and Rodney Stark.  1965.  “Becoming a World-Saver: A Theory of Conversion to a Deviant Perspective.”  American Sociological Review 30(6):862-875.

Sherkat, Darren E. and John Wilson.  1995.  “Preferences, Constraints, and Choices in Religious Markets: An Examination of Religious Switching and Apostasy.”  Social Forces 73(3):993-1026.

Smilde, David.  2005.  “A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Conversion to Venezuelan Evangelicalism: How Networks Matter.”  American Journal of Sociology 111(3):757-796.

Stark, Rodney and William S. Bainbridge.  1980.  “Networks of Faith: Interpersonal Bonds and Recruitment to Cults and Sects.”  American Journal of Sociology 85(6):1376-1395.

Welch, Kevin W.  1981.  “An Interpersonal Influence Model of Traditional Religious Commitment.”  The Sociological Quarterly 22(1):81-92.

The following are possible measures of Religious Social Networks that can be created using data from theARDA.com
Contributors:
These questions ask respondents where they met their closest friends or if the majority of their close friends are found in their church. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q13A - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
Value5 - 1996 Clergy Satisfaction Survey
FrndAtch - 1991 Small Groups Survey
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Contributors:
An estimate of how many people in a respondent's social network are religious. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Friends  - 2001 U.S. Congregational Life Survey
FrRel - 2008 National Study of Youth and Religion (Wave III)
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Contributors:
This asks respondents what religious tradition their parents ascribe to and allows researchers to investigate why individuals maintain or change from the religious tradition they were exposed to when younger. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
Q31A - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
MaRelig - 1988 General Social Survey PaRelig - 1988 General Social Survey Moms Relig - 1998 General Social Survey Pops Relig - 1998 General Social Survey PRelign - 2003 National Study of Youth and Religion (Wave 1) Search the ARDA for similar measures.
Contributors:
A question that asks respondents what religion, if any, their spouse ascribes to. This variable allows researchers to investigate how religious capital affects spouse choice, as well as how network religious preferences affect individuals.  This variable also potentially allows researchers to approximate which religious traditions are more exclusive with regard to endogamy. View related items in the Measurement Wizard:
    Examples  
Several files in theARDA's Data Archive have examples of this Measure.
MATE RELIG - 2004 General Social Survey SPREL - 2006 General Social Survey SPREL - 1990 General Social Survey PSPFAITH - 2003 National Study of Youth and Religion (Wave 1) Q31C - 2005 Baylor Religion Survey
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