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Социология религии. Социолого-религиоведческий портал

Who Talks Religion and What Are the Consequences for Social Ties? Unpacking a Sensitive Discussion Topic in Close Networks

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Sociology of Religion, srx069, https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/srx069
17 February 2018


Though religion matters greatly to many U.S. adults, it is widely considered a touchy conversational topic. Understanding how religious issues are talked about with others can elucidate a key interpersonal manifestation of Americans’ faith, yet existing research has largely overlooked the phenomena of religious discussion in social networks. This article considers which types of people talk about religion with their close ties, what relational factors underlie religious discussion, and what implications such discussion has for network turnover and stability. Applying multilevel regression methods to ego-centered networks measured in the Portraits of American Life Survey, I find that individual- and relational-level factors each predict the presence of religious discussion within close networks. Longitudinal analyses further reveal that for a large subset of Americans—namely evangelical and mainline Protestants and those involved in a congregation—religious discussion partners are especially likely to remain in the network over the course of 6 years. This association extended beyond other factors that could explain tie persistence, including relational closeness and multiple forms of homophily. Results point to several promising future directions for the study of religion and social networks.



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