Religious Service Attendance, Moral Foundations, God Concept, and In-Group Giving: Testing Moderated Mediation

  • Abigail M. ShepherdEmail author
  • Sarah A. SchnitkerEmail author
  • Tyler S. GreenwayEmail author
Original Paper


Studies demonstrate that religious people are more likely to donate money to charity, but these donations are more often given to in-group members (e.g., religiously affiliated organizations). Few studies test mechanisms by which religious attendance affects the bias toward in-group giving. Moral foundations are proposed as mediators of the association between religious attendance and the in-group giving bias, and traditional God concept is proposed as a moderator of the relation between attendance and moral foundations. Data were collected from Christians in the USA. (N = 311), and participants were given an opportunity to donate their payment to Christian (in-group), Muslim (out-group), or secular charities. The traditional God concept variable moderated the indirect effect of the fairness/reciprocity foundation in explaining the relation between religious attendance and giving. People with highly traditional God concepts and higher religious attendance reported higher fairness/reciprocity scores, and they gave less to in-group charities and more to out-group charities.


Moral foundations Generosity In-group giving Religious attendance God concept 



The preparation of this article was supported by a fellowship from Fuller Theological Seminary, an award from the Society for the Psychology of Religion & Spirituality (Division 36 of the American Psychological Association), and grants from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Generosity for Life Initiative funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Biola University Center for Christian Thought.


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Copyright information

© Religious Research Association, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyFuller Theological SeminaryPasadenaUSA
  2. 2.Psychology and NeuroscienceBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

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