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Exploration of Gender Differences in Spiritual/Religious Psychological Sense of Community

 

Authors: Barrett Williams, Chris Dabbs, Chisom Anunobi, Audry Scaer, Alicia Abbott, Blake Savage and Carrie Winterowd

 

Introduction

Women tend to participate more in spiritual and/or religious practices compared to men (Simpson, et al., 2008). In addition, there are gender differences in who men and women turn to for support within their spiritual and/or religious communities (Todd et al., 2020). In one study, there were no gender differences in one’s sense of community to their spiritual/religious group (i.e., synagogue in Israel; Itzhaki & Cnaan, 2018).

The purpose of the current study was to explore gender differences in one’s psychological sense of community to their spiritual and/or religious group. It is hypothesized that women would report more of a sense of community to their spiritual/religious group than men.

 

Method

A total of 101 college students, including 39 cisgender men and 65 cisgender women, completed an on-line survey, including a demographic page, the Spiritual/Religious Psychological Sense of Community Scale, the WHO Quality of Life Scale and the DASS-21. Participants were recruited from an on-line participant pool at OSU.

 

Results

A one-way univariate analysis was conducted. College men (m = 24.36, sd = 12.17) reported feeling more psychologically connected to to their spiritual/religious group than college women (m = 20.49, sd = 7.91), F (1, 100) = 3.86, p = .052, η2 = .036.

Pearson correlational analyses by gender revealed that college men and women who reported feeling psychologically connected to their spiritual/religious groups were less emotionally distressed (r = -.35 and r = -.63 respectively, p < .05) and had a better overall quality of life (r = .24 and r = .24 respectively).

 

Discussion

College men felt more psychologically connected to their spiritual/religious group than college women, which may be due to viewing their spiritual/religious connection as a key outlet for support.  Another explanation could be due to the patriarchal nature of religion and spirituality in this part of the country and that men may feel more comfortable in that environment than women.

College men and women benefit from feeling psychologically connected to their spiritual and/or religious groups, with its relationship to emotional well-being as more profound for women.

 

Overall Findings

College men felt more psychologically connected to their spiritual/religious group that college women. Feelings more psychologically connected to one’s spiritual/religious group was associated with less emotional distress and a better quality of life, more so for women than men.

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