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  1. Do Sociology Courses Make More Empathetic Students? A Mixed-Methods Study of Empathy Change in Undergraduates

    Assessing course goals is often challenging; assessing an abstract goal, like empathy, can be especially so. For many instructors, empathy is central to sociological thinking. As such, fostering empathy in students is a common course goal. In this article, we report the initial findings of a semester-long assessment of empathy change in undergraduate students (N = 619). We employ a mixed-methods research design that utilizes qualitative instructor data to determine independent instructor-level variables and student surveys to measure student empathy change.
  2. Challenging Evolution in Public Schools: Race, Religion, and Attitudes toward Teaching Creationism

    Researchers argue that white evangelical Christians are likely to support teaching creationism in public schools. Yet, less is known about the role religion may play in shaping attitudes toward evolution and teaching creationism among blacks and Latinos, who are overrepresented in U.S. conservative Protestant traditions. This study fills a gap in the literature by examining whether religious factors (e.g., religious affiliation and Biblical literalism) relate to differences in support for teaching creationism between blacks and Latinos compared to whites and other racial groups.
  3. Social Networks, Support, and Depressive Symptoms: Gender Differences among Clergy

    This study extends social-psychological research on social networks and mental health by examining cross-gender differences in social integration and depression among United Methodist clergy in North Carolina. Using data from the fifth wave of the Clergy Health Initiative panel survey, we used cross-group models to examine the association of depressive symptoms and network in-degree, out-degree, and perceived social isolation among men (N = 1,145) and women (N = 535) clergy. The analysis reveals gendered differences in this association.
  4. Sacred Alters: The Effects of Ego Network Structure on Religious and Political Beliefs

    Does who we know impact how strongly we believe? The claim seems reasonable, but research linking social network composition to political beliefs has produced conflicting results. We argue that methodological differences in measuring close ties can explain these inconsistencies and that work on the sacred umbrella provides a useful framework for moving forward. The sacred umbrella argues that when people close to you share your religious beliefs, you are shielded from doubt and uncertainty; perhaps the same mechanism also operates for political views.
  5. Certainty, Uncertainty, or Indifference? Examining Variation in the Identity Narratives of Nonreligious Americans

    Much research in social science concludes that uncertainty surrounding individual beliefs and identities is negative and anxiety-inducing, and that people are continuously searching for certainty. In the context of rising rates of religious disaffiliation in the United States, and the rise of social and political organizations created to promote nonreligious beliefs and values, the nonreligious offer a strategic case to explore the meaning and lived experience of certainty and uncertainty surrounding belief and identity formation.
  6. Who Wants to Lead? Anticipated Gender Discrimination Reduces Women’s Leadership Ambitions

    We examine whether anticipated gender discrimination—specifically, gendered sanctions for leadership failure—decreases women’s leadership ambitions. We find that laypeople expect that women leaders will be punished more harshly for failure than otherwise similar men. We also compare the leadership ambitions of women and men under conditions of benign and costly failure and find that leadership roles with costly failure—which implicitly have the potential for gendered sanctions for failure—disproportionally depress women’s leadership ambitions relative to men’s.
  7. Does Religion Buffer the Effects of Discrimination on Distress for Religious Minorities? The Case of Arab Americans

    Religiosity is well documented as a coping resource that protects against the effects of discrimination on distress, but little is known about the utility of religious minorities’ religiosity. This study investigates if religious resources buffer the effect of discrimination on distress for Arab Americans and if that relationship differs based on religious minority status.

  8. Why Do Advantaged People Feel Unhappy? Effects of Materialistic Values on Subjective Well-Being

    This article aims to explore the relationship between income and happiness. As shown by the Easterlin paradox, the relationship between income and happiness is not simple but indeed is rather complicated. The author used finite mixtures of regression models to analyze the data from the National Survey of Social Stratification and Social Mobility conducted in Japan and implemented computer simulations based on the results of the finite mixtures of regression models to examine how changes in social values influence the relationship between income and happiness.

  9. Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage

    Social scientists have long been interested in how cultural and structural characteristics shape individuals’ actions. We investigate this relationship by examining how macro- and micro-level religious effects shape individuals’ reports of premarital and extramarital sex. We look at how identifying with one of the major world religions—Islam, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, or Judaism—and living in a nation with a Muslim culture shape the likelihood of sex outside of marriage.

  10. How Religious Composition Around the World Differs between Younger and Older Populations

    This graphic shows differences in the religious composition of people around the world by age group. Religious change caused by demographic processes is more than a hypothetical future possibility. The consequences of demographic differences can be seen today by comparing the religious composition of younger and older populations.