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Cognitive Dissonance and Its Resolution: A Study of Lesbian Christians
Kimberly A. Mahaffy
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Vol. 35, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 392-402
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1386414
Page Count: 11
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This study explores the effects of a Christian identity on self-reported dissonance, and the relationship between source of dissonance and its resolution. One hundred sixty-three self-identified lesbians drawn from a convenience sample provided responses to open-ended questions regarding tension between religious beliefs and homosexuality. Source of dissonance was coded as internal, external, or nonexistent. An evangelical identity predicted both internal and external dissonance, although the likelihood of experiencing internal dissonance was higher. Resolution strategies included altering one's religious beliefs, leaving the church, or living with the dissonance. Respondents experiencing internal dissonance were more likely to alter their beliefs. However, the effects of the age of Christian identification and age of first suspecting one's lesbianism suggest that identity synthesis may forestall dissonance resolution when the source of tension is perceived as external.
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion © 1996 Society for the Scientific Study of Religion