American Sociological Association

Religion as Bridging or Bonding Social Capital: Race, Religion, and Cross-racial Interaction for College Students

Religion is the most segregated arena of American life, but its effect on collegiate diversity outcomes has been overlooked, despite the significance of both race and religion in many students’ lives. This study examines whether religious observance, religious worldview identification, and participation in a religious student organization are significantly related to cross-racial interaction (CRI), a form of bridging social capital, during college. The current study yielded largely positive relationships between general religiosity and CRI. General religiosity was also positively linked to CRI for Asian American, white, and black students. CRI was higher for students from minority religious backgrounds. Participation in campus religious groups was nonsignificant, regardless of the racial composition of the group. Findings are surprising given previous work that has mainly found negative relationships between religion and diversity-related outcomes in college. We discuss implications for the study of the campus climate and the effect of religion on campus race relations.


Julie J. Park and Nicholas A. Bowman





Starting Page


Ending Page