RELIGION

Cranney, Stephen. Forth. "Why Did God Make Me This Way? Religious Coping and Framing in the Virtuous Pedophile Community." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. 


Cranney, Stephen and Aleksandar Stulhofer. 2017. "'Whosoever Looketh on a Person to Lust After Them’: Religiosity, the Use of Mainstream and Nonmainstream Sexually Explicit Material, and Sexual Satisfaction in Heterosexual Men and Women.” Journal of Sex ResearchWhile previous research has generally found that religiosity is associated with negative attitudes toward sexually explicit material (SEM) and a lower frequency of SEM use, no studies have examined the relationship between SEM type and religiosity. Additionally, it is unknown how the interrelations between religiosity and typeand frequency of SEM use influence the relationship between SEM use and sexual satisfaction. Here, associations among a multi-itemreligiosity scale (consisting of measures of self-reported faith in God, religious services attendance, and the religiosity of the respondent’s social network), SEM use, type of preferred SEM, and sexual satisfaction were explored using a large online sample of Croatian adults (N =2,580). In both men and women, religiosity was associated with less frequent SEM use and more SEM negative attitudes. Guilty feelings following SEM use and SEM negative attitudes fully mediated the association between religiosity and SEM use among women and partially mediated the relationship for men. Religiosity was also negatively correlated with women’s nonmainstream SEM use. For women, religiosity significantly moderated the association between SEM use and sexual satisfaction, as well as the relationship between nonmainstream SEM use and sexual satisfaction. In line with the erotic plasticity theory, the findings suggest that religiosity affects SEM use and related sexual satisfaction more substantially among women than men.


Cranney, Stephen. 2017. “The LGB Mormon Paradox: Mental, Physical and Self-Rated Health among Mormon and Non-Mormon LGB Individuals in the Utah Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.” Journal of Homosexuality. Online first.  Much of the literature on mental and physical health among religious LGB individuals has relied on small-N convenience samples. This study takes advantage of a unique, large-N, population-based dataset to test the relationship between religious identity, religious activity, and health, with a specific emphasis on Utah Mormons. In a surprising finding, Mormon LGBs report better mental health than non-Mormon LGBs, while their self-rated and physical health is not significantly different. However, there is some evidence that Mormon LGBs derive less health benefits from church attendance than their non-LGB Mormon counterparts. These results may nuance the conventional wisdom regarding the health dynamics of LGB individuals who identify with a conservative, heteronormative religious tradition, and plausible explanations are discussed.


Cranney, Stephen. 2016."Is There a Stronger Association Between Children and Happiness Among the Religious? Religion as a Moderator in the Relationship Between Happiness and Child Number." Journal of Happiness Studies: 1-15. The literature on child number and happiness has progressed beyond simple associations and has begun to explore the roles of various attitudinal and environmental factors that moderate the relationship. Here the role of religiosity as a moderator in the relationship between happiness and child number is tested. This effect has not been examined before, which is surprising given the role that religion has been shown to play in child number more generally. I draw on both the psychology and demography literature to make a theoretical case that, as religiosity in the United States tends to be associated with pronatalist norms and culture, and as happiness is positively associated with fulfilling sociocultural imperatives, then, all things being equal, the more religious will have a higher happiness effect (or lower unhappiness effect) from their children than the less religious. Using General Social Survey data, my empirical analysis empirically confirmed this hypothesis, showing a positive and significant interaction term between self-identifying as very religious and child number. This interaction is partially mediated by another interaction term between higher ideal family size (measuring pronatalist tendencies) and number of children.


Cranney, Stephen. 2015.“The Association Between Pronatalist Attitudes and Belief in God in Slovenia and the Czech Republic.” Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 47(2):83-89. Research on the association between religiosity and fertility—and, particularly, on the effects of secularization on fertility desires and outcomes—has been concerned primarily with mechanisms that are fundamentally institutional and are embedded in formal religious structures. Supplementary explanations focused on noninstitutional dimensions of religiosity have never been tested. Conventional ordinary least-squares regression was used to test the association between belief in God (i.e., a personal God or some sort of life force) and fertility desires among 2,251 women aged 18–45 in Slovenia and 951 women aged 15–44 in the Czech Republic who participated in the European Family and Fertility Survey in the mid-1990s. In both samples, substantial proportions of women either were nonbelievers or believed in God but were not institutionally religious. Belief in God was independently associated with fertility desires even in analyses controlling for self-reported religiosity. Women who believed in a personal God wanted approximately 0.2 more children, and those who believed in a life force wanted approximately 0.1 more children, than nonbelievers. Results were similar across several alternative measures of religiosity.At least some of the connection between religiosity and fertility apparently is attributable to metaphysical beliefs. Future research on the effect of secularization on fertility decline should investigate the potentially distinct effects of different dimensions of religiosity.

Cranney, Stephen. 2013.“Do People Who Believe in God Report More Meaning in Their Lives? The Existential Effects of Belief.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 52 (3): 638-646. I conduct the first large-N study explicitly exploring the association between belief in God and sense of purpose in life. This relationship, while often discussed informally, has received little empirical attention. Here, I use the General Social Survey to investigate how form of and confidence in belief in God is related to sense of purpose in life, as measured by a Likert item level of agreement with the statement “In my opinion, life does not serve any purpose.” Using logistic regression analysis, I find that those who indicate that they are confident in God's existence report a higher sense of purpose compared to nonbelievers, believers in a higher power, and those who believe but occasionally doubt.

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