Christopher G Ellison

Christopher G Ellison
University of Texas at San Antonio | UTSA · Department of Sociology

About

143
Publications
92,074
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11,770
Citations
Citations since 2017
29 Research Items
4747 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230200400600800
20172018201920202021202220230200400600800

Publications

Publications (143)
Article
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Background: The COVID-19 pandemic was one of the most devastating disasters of the twenty-first century and has exacted a steep health and economic toll. During times of suffering caused by the pandemic, religion/spirituality may prove to be a consistent and valuable coping resource. Purpose: We situate changes in religious importance and relian...
Article
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We employ national cross-sectional survey data from the 2021 Crime, Health, and Politics Survey (n = 1,578 to 1,735) to model traditional cigarette and e-cigarette use as a function of religious affiliation, general religiosity, biblical literalism, religious struggles, and the sense of divine control. Although the odds of abstaining from cigarette...
Article
Background In contrast to the vibrant interdisciplinary literature on other virtues, such as forgiveness and gratitude, the study of humility has developed more slowly. Over the 2 decades, there has been a proliferation of research on humility. In this study, we assess the interrelationship between a core feature of religious life, God-mediated con...
Article
Do veterans of the U.S. armed forces, a population with unique knowledge of and experience with guns, have distinctive views of gun control policies? While veterans are commonly assumed to be conservatives and Republicans, an emerging body of work has begun to explore the complexities of their policy opinions, partisanship, and voting behaviors. Su...
Article
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In this paper, we document the social patterning of recent gun purchases to advance a contemporary social epidemiology of the pandemic arms race. We employ cross-sectional survey data from the 2020 Health, Ethnicity and Pandemic Study, which included a national sample of 2,709 community-dwelling adults living in the United States. We use binary log...
Article
Objective Although there is widespread speculation about guns helping people to sleep better, this idea has only recently faced empirical scrutiny. We test whether people who own guns tend to exhibit healthier sleep outcomes than people who do not own guns and whether the association between community stress and sleep is less pronounced for people...
Article
Although debates over guns and gun control have roiled the contemporary political scene, the role of religion has received only limited attention from scholars. We contribute to this literature by developing a series of theoretical arguments linking one specific facet of religion –belief in supernatural evil (i.e., the Devil/Satan, Hell, and demons...
Article
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This research note advances the religious coping literature by testing whether belief in an evil world conditions the stress-moderating role of scripture reading. Hypotheses are tested with original data from a survey of Black, Hispanic, and White American churchgoers from South Texas (2017-2018; n = 1,115). Our findings show that reading scripture...
Chapter
Although numerous studies show that religious involvement is associated with better health across the life course, researchers have virtually ignored the outcome of sleep. In this chapter, we test whether religious attendance is inversely associated with sleep disturbance among older Mexican Americans. We also assess whether this association is med...
Article
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Much of the survey research on religion/spirituality and mental health in the U.S. must be assumed to capture stable respondent traits when it is possible temporary states are actually being recorded. The smartphone-based experience sampling method (ESM) in the SoulPulse Study, which collected data twice a day for two weeks, allows an opportunity t...
Article
Using nationally representative survey data from the 2011 Pew Muslim American Survey, this study investigates how the combined effects of religiosity, personal networks, and attitudes toward American society shape the subjective identities of Muslims residing in the United States. We draw on social identity theory, Simmel’s notion of the “stranger,...
Article
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Does religious involvement (i.e., attendance and salience) mitigate the association between combat casualty exposure and sleep disturbance among US military veterans? To address this question, we analyze cross-sectional survey data from the public-use version of the 2011 Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Military Personnel. Results from mul...
Article
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Although several studies have documented an inverse association between stressful events and sleep quality, much less is known about the factors that might moderate or buffer against the adverse effects of psychosocial stress on sleep. Building on previous research, we employ national cross-sectional survey data from the 2017 Baylor Religion Survey...
Article
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This study examines whether dimensions of religious involvement (i.e., perceived divine control, private religious practices, and religious social integration) buffer associations between aspiration strain and mental health outcomes (i.e., psychological distress, loneliness, and optimism). We also test three-way interactions to determine whether th...
Article
Although numerous empirical studies show that religious involvement is associated with better health and longer life expectancies, researchers have virtually ignored possible links between religious involvement and sleep. To spark greater attention to this important and understudied area of sleep research, we review previous population-based studie...
Chapter
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Using multi-level data from the World Bank, the United Nations, the statistical yearbooks, and the cumulative World Values Survey, this chapter explores the effects of fertility change on religiosity in the 21st Century. Drawing on multiple literatures from population and religious studies, it is hypothesized that fertility declines may lead to eve...
Article
Despite research on religion and marriage, little is known about the role of religion in the relationships of nonmarried couples. This study addresses two questions: (a) Do various dimensions of religious involvement—shared religious beliefs, affiliation and attendance, and theistic sanctification—influence the relationship satisfaction and marital...
Article
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Several decades of scholarly research have revealed the significant toll of discrimination experiences on the well-being of African Americans. Given these findings, investigators have become increasingly interested in uncovering any potential resources made available to African Americans for mitigating the psychosocial strains of discrimination. Th...
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A formidable body of literature suggests that numerous dimensions of religious involvement can facilitate productive coping. One common assumption in this field is that religious worldviews provide overarching frameworks of meaning by which to positively reinterpret stressors. The current study explicitly tests this assumption by examining whether...
Article
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Numerous studies have documented religious variations in gender ideology in the United States. Despite growth, diversification, and religious ferment among Latinas/os, few have investigated this topic within the Latina/o population. Drawing on insights from gender theory and prior empirical research, we develop several hypotheses regarding the link...
Article
Objective: Although several studies suggest that religious involvement tends to favor healthy biological functioning, most of this work has been conducted in the United States. This study explores the association between religious participation and biological functioning in Mexico. Method: The data are drawn from two waves of the Mexican Health...
Article
Although numerous studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with better health and longer life expectancies, it is unclear whether these general patterns extend to cellular aging. The mechanisms linking indicators of religious involvement with indicators of cellular aging are also undefined. We employed longitudinal data from the 200...
Article
Research indicates that conservative Protestants are highly supportive of corporal punishment. Yet, Americans’ support for this practice has waned during the past several decades. This study aggregates repeated cross-sectional data from the General Social Surveys (GSS) to consider three models that address whether attitudes toward spanking among co...
Article
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Previous research raises the question of self-esteem as a fundamental human need, but also indicates that self-esteem is an inherently social product. Is religious involvement influential—and does it depend on beliefs about God? In this research, we examine the associations between multiple dimensions of religious involvement and self-esteem, and s...
Article
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The nascent literature on the propensity to endorse conspiratorial views of President Barack Obama suggests that such sentiments may be grounded in racial animus or political partisanship. Yet to date, little attention has been paid to the religious elements that may underlie such claims. We extend the research in this area by using a national surv...
Article
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Using data on adults ages 55 and over from the second wave of the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH-2), this study models the main and interactive effects of religious involvement and race/ethnicity on four items of attitudes towards intergenerational assistance. Results indicate that African Americans and Hispanics tend to express s...
Article
Many mental health and religious professionals have long argued that belief in human sinfulness is associated with poor mental health. Others argue that the deleterious mental health effects of belief in sinfulness may be buffered by a concomitant belief in divine forgiveness, which may itself have positive mental health benefits. We test these ide...
Article
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The present study was specifically designed to examine the associations among religious commitment, belief in meaning and purpose in life, and psychiatric symptoms among the general public using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey (BRS). The BRS obtained data from a nationwide sample of 1,714 U.S. adults, 1,450 of which are included in the cu...
Article
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Using a random sample of adult residents from the state of Texas, we examine how religious participation and secular civic engagement buffer the effects of perceived financial strain and neighborhood disadvantage on psychological distress. Our findings suggest that (a) both organizational religious and secular civic engagement buffer the deleteriou...
Article
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Purpose of the Study: Research has linked several aspects of religion-including service attendance, prayer, meditation, religious coping strategies, congregational support systems, and relations with God, among others-with positive mental health outcomes among older U.S. adults. This study examines a neglected dimension of religious life: listening...
Article
This study explores the role of religious attendance across a wide range of biological markers. The data are drawn from the National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project to assess continuous and categorical biomarker specifications. Across specifications, higher levels of attendance are associated with lower levels of pulse rate and overall allos...
Chapter
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This chapter reviews relevant theory and research on the linkages between religion and family life in the United States over the past 25 years. It focuses on how religion exerts important influences on multiple domains of family life, including but not limited to premarital interactions, union formation, relationship dynamics and quality, childbear...
Article
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Although many studies have explored the salutary associations between multiple dimensions of religiousness and psychological well-being, a smaller body of work has focused on the links between spiritual struggles and negative mental health outcomes. Two types of spiritual struggles have received considerable attention in this literature: divine str...
Article
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Although religion is an important influence on a variety of social attitudes, the relationship between religion and views on family planning remains underexplored, especially in terms of attitudes relating to public policy. Using data from a nationally-representative survey (N = 1,500) fielded in 1998, we examine the influence of religious affiliat...
Article
Balboni and her team¹ continue to highlight the role that religiousness and spiritual support play in the lives of patients with advanced cancer. Given the accumulating evidence linking aspects of religion and spirituality to a variety of health and health care–related outcomes, this line of work is needed to expand the literature to end-of-life (E...
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This study examines the association between beliefs about God and psychiatric symptoms in the context of Evolutionary Threat Assessment System Theory, using data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey of US Adults (N = 1,426). Three beliefs about God were tested separately in ordinary least squares regression models to predict five classes of psychia...
Article
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Based on a life course framework we propose that a cancer diagnosis is associated with increased religiosity and that this relationship is contingent upon three social clocks: cohort (1920-1945, 1946-1964, 1964+), age-at-diagnosis, and years-since-diagnosis. Using prospective data from the National Survey of Midlife Development (N=3443), taken in 1...
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The rapid growth of the Latino population in the United States has renewed interest in Latino family research. It has often been assumed that Catholicism is a key factor influencing Latinos’ attitudes toward the family, despite the fact that nearly one third of Latinos are not Catholic. This article uses data from the 2006 National Survey of Religi...
Article
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While a great deal of scholarly attention has been focused on correlates and predictors of obstacles to marriage, little attention has been given to the role of religion in predicting self-reported reasons for nonmarriage. This oversight in the literature is surprising, given the recent focus among researchers on the role of religious factors in sh...
Article
Though research has shown that religion provides a protective influence with respect to a number of health-related outcomes, little work has examined its influence on patterns of alcohol (especially binge drinking) and tobacco consumption among Latinos in Texas. Thus, we used a probability sample of Texas adults to test this relationship via logist...
Article
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Data from the 2010 Baylor Religion Survey were analyzed by structural equation modeling (SEM) to test five hypotheses: (1) that religious commitment is positively related to belief in life-after-death; that belief in life-after-death is (2) positively related to belief in an equitable world, and (3) negatively related to belief in a cynical world;...
Article
Purpose of the study: Studies show that loneliness is a major risk factor for health issues in later life. Although research suggests that religious involvement can protect against loneliness, explanations for this general pattern are underdeveloped and undertested. In this paper, we propose and test a theoretical model, which suggests that social...
Article
The present study examined the relationship between religious orientation and mental health symptoms among Turkish students. A total of 341 undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 26 completed the Brief Symptom Inventory and Age Universal Intrinsic-Extrinsic Scale. Extrinsic orientation was found to be correlated positively with symptoms...
Article
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Despite at least a century of theoretical debate, the rehtionship between religion and the sense of control has rarely been investigated empirically. This study develops a series of theoretical arguments linking multiple dimensions of religious involvement with the sense of control. Relevant hypotheses are then tested using data from the 1996 NORC...
Article
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This study examines the association between various religious beliefs and practices and fears pertaining to death and dying in a national sample of liberal Protestant U.S. adults. Data were analyzed from a 2002 survey of members and elders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) (N = 935). Four measures of religion were tested together in models predict...
Article
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A growing literature examines the correlates and sequelae of spiritual struggles, such as religious doubts. To date, however, this literature has focused primarily on a handful of mental health outcomes (e.g., symptoms of depression, anxiety, negative affect), while the possible links with other aspects of health and well-being, such as poor or dis...
Article
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Using longitudinal data from a sample of 456 focal children in the National Survey of Families and Households (NSFH), this study examined two research questions: (a) Does corporal punishment of young children (ages 2-4 at baseline) predict increases in levels of externalizing and internalizing problems over a 5-year study period? (b) Does the relig...
Article
This article contributes to recent work investigating the role of religious sanctification, that is, the process via which one's spouse or marital relationship is perceived as having divine character or sacred significance. We outline a series of theoretical arguments linking marital sanctification with specific aspects of marital quality. A recent...
Article
In recent years a number of studies have explored possible sources of nonrandom error and response bias in survey data on religion. Building on a longstanding body of work in the social sciences, we examine a neglected issue in this domain: the potential for race-of-interviewer effects, specifically in African Americans’ self-reports of various dim...
Article
To determine whether spiritual and religious identities predict complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use above and beyond other known influences such as gender, region of residence, social status, personality, health, and access to conventional medicine. Analyzing data from the 1995-1996 National Survey of Midlife Development in the United...
Article
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This study explores the relationship between multiple aspects of religious involvement—affiliation, church attendance, subjective religiosity—and marital expectations among college women. In addition, the authors investigate whether religious involvement mediates the link between family background and marital expectations. These issues are addresse...
Article
A growing literature reveals that parental divorce and marital discord can have undesirable effects on the mental health and social well-being of children, some of which extend well into adulthood. Our study augments this body of work by focusing on the interplay of divorce and discord in shaping the religious and spiritual lives of young adults. S...
Article
Objectives. This study examines links between multiple aspects of religious involvement and attitudes toward same-sex marriage among U.S. Latinos. The primary focus is on variations by affiliation and participation, but the possible mediating roles of biblical beliefs, clergy cues, and the role of religion in shaping political views are also consid...
Article
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Religious individuals are more likely to engage in healthy practices, including using preventive services; however, the underlying mechanisms have not been adequately explored. To begin addressing this, the current study examines the association between religious attendance, four aspects of congregational support, two health-related religious belie...
Article
Considerable research shows that social relationships, attachments, and support systems promote emotional well-being. The present study adds to this literature by examining the connection between attachments to God and psychological distress. Analyzing longitudinal data (two waves) from a study of Presbyterian (PCUSA) elders and rank-and-file laype...
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A long tradition of research demonstrates that divorce is a risk factor for depressive symptoms. Although a growing literature examines links between religious factors and marital quality and stability, researchers have neglected the role of religion in successful or problematic coping following divorce. Building on Pargament's seminal work on reli...
Article
A growing literature examines the correlates and sequelae of spiritual struggles. Particular attention has been focused on three specific types of such struggles: (a) divine, or troubled relationships with God; (b) interpersonal, or negative social encounters in religious settings; and (c) intrapsychic, or chronic religious doubting. To date, howev...
Article
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Using data from a 2001–2002 sample of adults aged 65 and older living in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, we examine the associations among religious involvement (as measured by the frequency of attendance at religious services and praying), the belief in divine control, and the sense of mattering—a key component of the self-concept. We also a...
Article
A substantial body of research has shown that relationship quality tends to be (a) lower among racial and ethnic minorities and (b) higher among more religious persons and among couples in which partners share common religious affiliations, practices, and beliefs. However, few studies have examined the interplay of race or ethnicity and religion in...
Article
Drawing on insights from attachment theory, this study examined whether three types of attachment to God--secure, avoidant, and anxious--were associated with health-risk behaviors, over and above the effects of religious attendance, peer support, and demographic covariates, in a sample of 328 undergraduate college students. Contrary to prior theory...
Article
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A growing body of research explores patterns and correlates of mental health among clergy and other religious professionals. Our study augments this work by distinguishing between religious resources (i.e., support from church members, positive religious coping practices), and spiritual struggles (i.e., troubled relations with God, negative interac...
Article
Drawing broadly on insights from attachment theory, the present study outlines a series of theoretical arguments linking styles of attachment to God, perceptions of the nature of God (i.e., God imagery), and stressful life events with psychological distress. Main effects and potential stress-moderator effects are then evaluated using data from a na...
Article
Despite ample precedent in theology and social theory, few studies have systematically examined the role of religion in mitigating the harmful effects of socioeconomic deprivation on mental health. The present study outlines several arguments linking objective and subjective measures of financial hardship, as well as multiple aspects of religious l...
Article
A growing body of research demonstrates that higher levels of religious involvement are associated with lower adult mortality risks in the United States. While a handful of clinically based and community-based studies have considered the impacts of private religiosity and strength and comfort received from religious faith on survival status among t...
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As the preceding chapters demonstrate, researchers from multiple disciplines have investigated the relationships between religion and health outcomes, including mental and physical health and mortality risk (Ellison and Levin 1998; Chatters 2000). Although this field has expanded rapidly over the past two decades, it remains in its early stages. Al...
Article
The aim of this volume was to bring together a number of leading sociologists and social demographers to investigate whether and how religion continues to shape family life, socioeconomic attainment, and health in the contemporary United States. Given the careful theoretical and empirical consideration of these issues throughout these chapters, the...
Book
While the scientific community has experienced a resurgence in the idea that there are important linkages between religion and family life and religion and health outcomes, this study is still in its early stages, scattered across multiple disciplines, and of uneven quality. To date, no book has featured both reviews of the literature and new empir...
Article
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This study examines the effects of negative interaction in church on psychological distress. After outlining a series of theoretical arguments linking negative interaction with health and well-being, relevant hypotheses are tested using longitudinal data from two surveys of the 1997–1999 Presbyterian Panel, a nationwide panel of members and elders...
Article
This study examined multiple dimensions of religious involvement and the risk of divorce among a nationwide sample of 2,979 first-time married couples. Multivariate proportional hazards modeling was used to analyze two waves of the National Survey of Families and Households. Results indicated that although each partner's religious attendance bore a...
Article
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This study provided the first examination of the psychometric properties of the 6-item Daily Spiritual Experiences Scale (DSES) in a large African American sample, the Jackson Heart Study (JHS). The JHS included measures of spiritual (DSES) and religious practices. Internal reliability, dimensionality, fit indices, and correlation were assessed. DS...
Article
Recent attention from media, scholars, and religious leadership has focused on the dating activities of college students, particularly in relation to casual physical encounters or what some have termed “hooking up.” In this article, we examine the impact of both individual and institutional religious involvement on “hooking up” in a national sample...
Article
This study investigated the association between religious involvement and major depression in 607 African American adults, using longitudinal data from the National Survey of Black Americans. Logistic regression found that survey participants who reported receiving "a great deal" of guidance from religion in their day-to-day lives at Time 1 (1988-1...
Article
A growing body of research investigates the possible relationships between religion and mental health. After developing a series of arguments linking various aspects of religion with anxiety and tranquility, we test relevant hypotheses using data from the 1996 Genera Social Survey. Results show that frequency of religious attendance and the belief...
Article
The purpose of this study was to see whether the social environment of the church is associated with changes in feelings of gratitude toward God over time. The theoretical thrust of the authors’ analyses is captured in the following conceptual linkages: (a) People who attend church frequently are more likely to believe that their congregation is hi...
Article
Religious doubt arises from a process in which there is a precipitant, the experience of doubt, a coping response, and a health-related outcome. We assess whether social factors precipitate doubt and the coping responses that are invoked to deal with doubt. We evaluate whether these coping responses are, in turn, associated with health. Over time,...
Article
In the debate about biological dispositions or differential sex-role socialization, too much emphasis is given to an either- or dichotomy. We argue that the higher religiosity of women is likely the product of both biological and environmental influences by discussing: (1) the fallacy of nature “versus” nurture; (2) biological influences on religio...