Age, Period, and Cohort Effects on U.S.Religious Service Attendance: The DecliningImpact of Sex, Southern Residence, andCatholic Afﬁliation*
University of Nebraska—Lincoln
I use repeated, cross-sectional data from 1972 to 2006 to analyze age, period, and cohort effects on Americans’ frequency of religious service attendance with cross-classiﬁed, random-effects models.The results show that the frequency of religious service attendance is relatively stable, with a modest period-based decline in the 1990s and little overall cohort effect. Although aggregate rates of attend-ance are stable, there are large changes across cohorts and periods in differences in attendancebetween men and women, southerners and non-southerners, and Catholics and mainlineProtestants. These results serve as a reminder that aggregate trends can mask substantial changesamong speciﬁc groups, and that factors that strongly inﬂuence religious participation at one period oramong one birth cohort may not be the same factors that affect participation at another time oramong another cohort.
religious service attendance; cohort; period; age; sex; south.
Aside from a decline in Catholics’ attendance in the 1960s and early1970s, it appears that rates of religious service attendance in the United Statesare relatively stable over the last few decades (Greeley 1989; Hout and Greeley1987, 1998; Presser and Chaves 2007). There is, however, still much debateconcerning potential variations in frequency of religious service attendanceby birth cohort. Stable rates of service attendance at the aggregate do notnecessarily translate into stable rates of attendance across birth cohorts. Millerand Nakamura (1996), for example, argue that the disproportionately large
*Direct all correspondence to Philip Schwadel, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 740 Oldfather Hall, PO Box 880324, Lincoln, NE 68588-0324, USA.E-mail: email@example.com. The author thanks Amy Anderson, Jacob Cheadle, Chris Garneau,three anonymous reviewers, and the Editor of
Sociology of Religion
for their advice on earlierversions of this article.
The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Associationfor the Sociology of Religion. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sociology of Religion 2010, 71:1 2-24
doi:10.1093/socrel/srq005Advance Access Publication 18 February 2010
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