Predictors of Religiosity in a Cohort of African Americans

Janice Bowie, Hee Soon Juon, Tamara Taggart, Roland J. Thorpe, Margaret Ensminger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Few studies have considered life course predictors of religiosity. We use the Woodlawn Study of a cohort of 1242 first-grade African American children followed over four time periods to age 42 to observe how early school behaviors, family characteristics and neighborhood and social resources relate to later religiosity. Past literature suggested several domains of religiosity and exploratory factor analyses supported four measures of religiosity: religiosity as a resource, youth religiosity, divine struggle, and young adult religiosity. In multivariate analyses, males rated by teachers as shy in first grade, those with more than a high school education, and females who reported higher social ties in young adulthood were more likely to report religiosity as a resource at age 42. Males with both shy and aggressive behavior in first grade and females with lower math grades in first grade reported more youth religiosity. Those who obtained more education were less likely to report divine struggle. In terms of religiosity as a young adult, females who had been rated as both shy and aggressive in first grade, those living in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of African Americans, those with higher social ties in young adulthood and those living in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of African Americans reported higher adult religiosity. Longitudinal studies offer an opportunity to examine how patterns of religiosity vary over the life course and how early family, school, and social adaptation influence later religiosity in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-41
Number of pages13
JournalRace and Social Problems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • African American
  • Gender
  • Life course
  • Religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of Religiosity in a Cohort of African Americans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this