Event Title

Conservative and Liberal Religious Beliefs Predict Sexual Activity and Politics

Poster Number

093

Faculty Mentor

Merry Sleigh, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Psychology

Location

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Start Date

12-4-2019 2:15 PM

End Date

April 2019

Description

Previous research focused primarily on conservative religiosity; however, many churches now teach liberal tenets of faith. Thus, we examined how different levels of adherence to conservative church theology relate to sexual behavior and political ideology. Participants were 117 young adults (70% women, 55% Caucasian, 78% heterosexual). Participants responded to published scales to assess sexual risk taking, guilt related to sexuality, and political ideology. Participants also rated their agreement with literal interpretations of Biblical statements, allowing us to categorize participants according to their adherence to liberal, conservative, or no religious beliefs. Compared to those with liberal religious theology or no religious adherence, participants with conservative religious theology showed clear differences in sexual activity. Adherence to conservative theology predicted more church influence, more guilt, and less risk associated with sex. In contrast, religious theology did not have such a straightforward impact on politics. Compared to all others, participants with a conservative theology were more politically conservative; however, they were just as likely as those adhering to liberal theology to say that the church had influenced those political views. At the same time, those adhering to liberal theology were just as likely as people with no religious adherence to say that the church influenced their political views. In sum, liberal theology predicts different outcomes than conservative theology, with young adults who agree with liberal theology showing greater resemblance to non-religious versus conservatively religious adults. These findings emphasize the fact that adults who consider themselves to be religious are not a homogeneous group.

Previously Presented/Performed?

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

Course Assignment

PSYC 302 – Sleigh

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Apr 12th, 2:15 PM Apr 12th, 4:15 PM

Conservative and Liberal Religious Beliefs Predict Sexual Activity and Politics

Richardson Ballroom – DiGiorgio Campus Center

Previous research focused primarily on conservative religiosity; however, many churches now teach liberal tenets of faith. Thus, we examined how different levels of adherence to conservative church theology relate to sexual behavior and political ideology. Participants were 117 young adults (70% women, 55% Caucasian, 78% heterosexual). Participants responded to published scales to assess sexual risk taking, guilt related to sexuality, and political ideology. Participants also rated their agreement with literal interpretations of Biblical statements, allowing us to categorize participants according to their adherence to liberal, conservative, or no religious beliefs. Compared to those with liberal religious theology or no religious adherence, participants with conservative religious theology showed clear differences in sexual activity. Adherence to conservative theology predicted more church influence, more guilt, and less risk associated with sex. In contrast, religious theology did not have such a straightforward impact on politics. Compared to all others, participants with a conservative theology were more politically conservative; however, they were just as likely as those adhering to liberal theology to say that the church had influenced those political views. At the same time, those adhering to liberal theology were just as likely as people with no religious adherence to say that the church influenced their political views. In sum, liberal theology predicts different outcomes than conservative theology, with young adults who agree with liberal theology showing greater resemblance to non-religious versus conservatively religious adults. These findings emphasize the fact that adults who consider themselves to be religious are not a homogeneous group.