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Education, Religiosity and Moral Attitudes: Explaining Cross-National Effect Differences

Peer Scheepers, Manfred Te Grotenhuis and Frans Van Der Slik
Sociology of Religion
Vol. 63, No. 2 (Summer, 2002), pp. 157-176
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3712563
Page Count: 20
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Education, Religiosity and Moral Attitudes: Explaining Cross-National Effect Differences
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Abstract

The aim of the present study is to answer three research questions on moral attitudes (i.e., attitudes concerning abortion, premarital and extramarital relations, and homosexual relations). Which parental and individual characteristics affect moral attitudes? Do the effects of parental and individual characteristics vary across countries? And, if so, can these effect differences on moral issues be explained by national characteristics? To answer these questions, we use the 1991 ISSP database containing relevant data of 16,604 inhabitants of 15 countries. Hypotheses are tested using multi-level analyses. We find that parental and individual religiosity, as well as individual educational attainment, have strong effects on moral attitudes. However, we observe considerable effect differences across countries, which is a rather new finding. Effects of individual religiosity on moral attitudes appear to be stronger in more religious countries and weaker in more secularized countries. Effects of individual education are stronger in more religiously heterogeneous countries and weaker in more religiously homogeneous countries. Finally, effects of individual education on moral attitudes are weaker in short-standing democracies than in long-standing ones.

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