Sex Roles

, Volume 25, Issue 3–4, pp 181–193 | Cite as

From sex differences to gender role beliefs: Exploring effects on six dimensions of religiosity

  • Kathryn M. Feltey
  • Margaret M. Poloma


Regardless of the particular dimension of religiosity under consideration, women are generally found to be more religious than men. To date, empirical data has not been used to explore the importance of gender role ideology in explaining these differences. Using the 1988 Akron Area Survey, the effects of sex differences and gender role beliefs on six dimensions of religiosity are explored. The major findings include the following: (1) sex differences in religiosity are not supported for most dimensions of religiosity when other demographic variables are considered; (2) gender role ideology, while not sex related, does improve the explanation of variance in most dimensions of religiosity; and (3) sex is a predictor of the closeness of an individual's relationships to God, while gender role ideology is not. We suggest that stereotypes about women being more religious are misleading and that gender role ideology has an important effect on religiosity. However, sex is more indicative of the level of religious intimacy, measured by perceived closeness to God. We discuss the implications of this finding for changes in family structure and relationships between men and women.


Social Psychology Demographic Variable Empirical Data Gender Role Family Structure 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathryn M. Feltey
    • 1
  • Margaret M. Poloma
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AkronUSA

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