Have you ever wondered how does religion and who is more involved in religion — men or women? Recently this question was asked by scientists, but sociologists have long observed the gap between the religious of both sexes. In a study published in the journal the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, researchers analyzed the results of three national surveys. More than 22 thousand American teenagers told pollsters about the family, religiosity, and tendency to risky actions. The results of the study showed that risk aversion may partially explain the differences in religiosity of men and women.
In almost all countries women are more religious than men. In the US, the results of the surveys indicate significant difference between the sexes from the point of view of religion. But what explains this gap?
The higher the risk aversion the lower the religiosity
According to the results of the study, one of the factors that affect religiosity is that men are more risk-averse. The study’s lead author John Hoffmann, Professor of sociology at Brigham young University, first proposed the theory of risk appetite and religiosity in 1995 in the article called “Risk and religion: an explanation of gender differences in religiosity”. However, subsequent studies were unable to replicate his results, probably due to errors in methodology.
The new study was an attempt of a scientist to reproduce and potentially expand the initial results. Through the work of Hoffmann examined data from three different studies, each of which was analyzed risk tolerance, religiosity, and demographic variables 22 745 of American teenagers. After comparing the data, the results showed that men were more risk-averse, while women are more prone to religion.
Moreover, the gap between the religiosity of men and women almost disappeared when risk was a control variable. However, as reported by John Hoffman edition Psy Post, the results of the research proves that the risk aversion fully explains the gap in religiosity between men and women. Also be aware that the study focused only on young people. The scientist notes that there are many other factorsthat influence an individual’s involvement in religion and can explain any gender differences.
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What else explains the tendency to religion?
According to sociologists, the gender gap in religiosity is still “a genuine scientific mystery.” Most of the explanations States that the reason for the gap is nature or nurture. As the researchers note in a recent article by Pew Research Center, it is a debate that will likely not be resolved in the near future. The theory that physical, biological, or genetic differences between men and women are one of the factors of the tendency to religiosity has not found scientific confirmation. A theory of “education” that define social factors as the main mechanism explaining the religious gender gap, it is not devoid of problems: despite extensive social changes and transformation of gender roles in recent decades, religious gender gap persists in many societies.
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However, regardless of gender, religion we simply peculiar. Moreover, the development of human civilization is impossible without religion. As he writes in his book “Explaining religion” , the French anthropologist Pascal Boyer, the background of the beliefs and religious ceremonies hid in the principles of the human psyche: religious thinking is the most comfortable, natural way of thinking for humans, the result of the adaptation of our psyche to the environment.
And according to Professor of Stanford University, neuroendocrinology Robert Sapolsky there is a direct relationship between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and religiosity. This scientist says in one of his lectures on the biology of human behavior. Thus, the propensity for religiosity is a complex process that has evolved throughout the history of our species and it is necessary to keep in mind whenever it comes to believing in a particular God.