English title: Religious Involvement: Its Relation to Values and Social Attitudes: A Simultaneous Test of Measurement and Structural Models Across European Countries

Author(s): Bart Meuleman -

Language: English

Type: Book chapter

Year: 2010


Despite clear tendencies towards more secular societies, religion continues to play an important role in contemporary European societies. Previous research has evidenced that religion structures individual value and attitude patterns. At the same time, religiosity is not evenly spread across the population, so that religion operates as an important intermediary variable between social structure, on the one hand, and value and attitude patterns, on the other. This study is focused on the interplay between social structure, religiosity, values and social attitudes. Using European Social Survey (round 2) data, these relations are compared across 25 different European countries. Our study provides an example of how multigroup structural equation modelling (MGSEM) can be used in comparative research. MGSEM makes it possible to test the cross-cultural comparability of the measurement scales and to estimate structural relations simultaneously. In the vast majority of the countries, religious involvement is found to be positively related to conservation and self-transcendence values. At the same time, religiosity turns out to foster social and political trust and to temper perceptions of ethnic threat in most countries (although some notable exceptions are found, such as Greece). The relation between socio-demographic variables and religious involvement is shown to depend on the degree to which societies have become secular. In highly religious countries, social structure influences to a larger extent whether individual become religiously involved than in more secular countries.

From page no: 173

To page no: 206

Anthology: Cross-Cultural Analysis: Methods and Applications