Distinctions among Christians and Conservatives: Differential Associations among Ideological Values and Religious Orientations

Cassie M. Whitt, Jonathan S. Gore


In two studies, we examined how various ideological beliefs can distinguish among religious orientations. Ideology was defined as right wing authoritarianism (RWA) - conventional, RWA - aggression and submission, social dominance orientation (SDO), and traditional family values (TFV). Religious orientations were categorized as four common orientations: intrinsic, extrinsic, quest, and orthodoxy. Participants across the two studies (ns = 285 and 507) completed self-report measures of demographic information, ideological values, and religious orientation. Personality traits were also assessed in Study 2. Regression analyses revealed that conventional RWA was the most consistent predictor of an individual’s religious orientation. RWA aggression and submission, SDO, and TFV also predicted unique variance in religious orientations. These results replicated across both studies, even controlling for personality. 


right wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, traditional family values, religious orientations

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