Event Title

Irish and American Adults’ Religious, Sexual, and Feminist Beliefs

Session Title

Feminism and Identity

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Honors Thesis Committee

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.; Peter Judge, Ph.D.; and Tara Collins, Ph.D.

Location

DIGS 220

Start Date

12-4-2019 1:45 PM

Description

We examined the shame and guilt surrounding sexual, feminist, and religious views. To expand the current knowledge, we recruited both American and Irish samples, the first study to do so. Because of highly publicized tensions in Ireland related to Catholicism and abortion laws, we hypothesized that Irish adults would score higher on shame and guilt regarding sex and feminism. We also explored their attitudes toward religious fundamentalism. Participants were 134 young adults (60% women; 50% Caucasian) with a mean age of 21.26 (SD = 5.17). Sixty percent were United States citizens, and 40% were Republic of Ireland citizens. Participants responded to the following scales: Religious Fundamentalism, Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology, Feminist Self-Identification, and Brief Sexual Attitudes. After each scale, participants responded to the State Shame and Guilt Scale. We also asked participants to evaluate how similar they were to their friends, family, and society regarding each of these issues. Young adults across cultures were similar in their support of feminism but differed in their religious and sexual beliefs. Irish participants held more religiously traditional attitudes, but were less likely to attend church and share religious beliefs with their families. Across participants, traditional religious views predicted more shame and secretiveness. Irish participants’ sexuality was more conservative and influenced by their society. Across participants, matching societal values was associated with sexual conservatism, while matching family values was associated with sexual openness. These findings suggest that the influence of family versus society may differentiate Irish and American young adults.

Previously Presented/Performed?

Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) Annual Meeting, Jacksonville, Florida, March 2019

Awards Won

Winner, CEPO Student Research Award for Women or Minority Issues, SEPA Annual Meeting, March 2019

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Apr 12th, 1:45 PM

Irish and American Adults’ Religious, Sexual, and Feminist Beliefs

DIGS 220

We examined the shame and guilt surrounding sexual, feminist, and religious views. To expand the current knowledge, we recruited both American and Irish samples, the first study to do so. Because of highly publicized tensions in Ireland related to Catholicism and abortion laws, we hypothesized that Irish adults would score higher on shame and guilt regarding sex and feminism. We also explored their attitudes toward religious fundamentalism. Participants were 134 young adults (60% women; 50% Caucasian) with a mean age of 21.26 (SD = 5.17). Sixty percent were United States citizens, and 40% were Republic of Ireland citizens. Participants responded to the following scales: Religious Fundamentalism, Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology, Feminist Self-Identification, and Brief Sexual Attitudes. After each scale, participants responded to the State Shame and Guilt Scale. We also asked participants to evaluate how similar they were to their friends, family, and society regarding each of these issues. Young adults across cultures were similar in their support of feminism but differed in their religious and sexual beliefs. Irish participants held more religiously traditional attitudes, but were less likely to attend church and share religious beliefs with their families. Across participants, traditional religious views predicted more shame and secretiveness. Irish participants’ sexuality was more conservative and influenced by their society. Across participants, matching societal values was associated with sexual conservatism, while matching family values was associated with sexual openness. These findings suggest that the influence of family versus society may differentiate Irish and American young adults.