This study investigated the connections between religious ideology, authoritarianism, intergroup relations, and political orientation. Building from the psychological literature on religious belief, the current study sought to explore the extent of these relationships using a university sample from the American South. The Diverse Learning Environments survey was administered to undergraduate students, with 2,582 responding. Variables of interest were religious belief, authoritarianism, intergroup relation views, diversity-related actions, and political views. Results suggest that while general religious orientation did not correlate positively with authoritarianism, Christians, specifically those associated with Evangelical groups, displayed greater authoritarianism than non-believers and reported fewer diversity-related interactions. While results indicated that more salient religious identity was associated with right-leaning political beliefs, an unexpected finding was that non-belief was associated with greater political involvement. These results suggest patterns of ingroup favoritism among conservative Christians which may lead to outgroup derogation and influence voting patterns.
Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy
- Date submitted
20 July 2022
- Additional information
Joshua A. Cuevas is a professor and educational psychologist in the College of Education at the University of North Georgia, USA. His research interests include applied cognition, assessment, educational measurement, evidence-based reasoning, extremism, religious belief, and memory. Bryan L. Dawson is a professor in the Department of Psychological Science at the University of North Georgia, USA. Dr. Dawson’s research focuses on discrimination and the attitudinal and behavioral effects of positive and negative beliefs towards women, people of color, and LGBT people. Ashley Grant is a graduate of the Department of Psychological Science at the University of North Georgia. She is pursuing a goal of becoming a licensed professional counselor to provide services for individuals from marginalized backgrounds.
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