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Gender Differences in Religion: A Test of the Structural Location Theory
David de Vaus and Ian McAllister
American Sociological Review
Vol. 52, No. 4 (Aug., 1987), pp. 472-481
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095292
Page Count: 10
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One of the most consistent findings in the sociology of religion is that women tend to be more religious than men. Surprisingly, given its universality, there are relatively few attempts to explain this phenomenon empirically. This article examines the extent to which gender differences in religious orientation can be attributed to the structural location of women in society. Three explanations to account for gender variations in religion are tested: (1) the child-rearing role of females, (2) lower levels of female work force participation relative to males, and (3) differing attitudes toward work and its relationship to family values. The analysis uses the nationally representative data collected in Australia in 1983 to show that the child-rearing role and differing attitudes toward work do not account for the greater religiousness of women. By contrast, the lower rate of female work force participation is an important explanatory factor. Possible reasons for this effect are discussed.
American Sociological Review © 1987 American Sociological Association