Description: This study explores the relationship between religion and anomie. The theoretical framework of Durkheim and Merton was used to suggest the hypothetical relationship between the two variables: as religiosity increases, anomie decreases. A secondary analysis was conducted using the 1991 General Social Survey (GSS). The GSS is one of the largest annual surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center. There were 1517 adult respondents composing the 1991 cross-national sample. Questions measuring both the belief and action dimensions of religion were used to measure respondents' level of religiosity. Questions from the Srole Scale of Anomia were used to measure respondents' level of anomia. Durkheim's theory that religion functions to integrate individuals into the larger society and therefore diminish levels of anomie was not supported with this data. While the lack of significant findings did not support the theory, neither did it disprove it. The hypothetical inverse relationship between class and anomie was supported with this data. Another hypothetical relationship, that of the most religious, women experience less anomie than men, was also not supported due to the lack of a significant relationship among the primary variables. Continued use of comprehensive and large scale surveys such as the General Social Survey is crucial. This research suggests the need for further testing of these hypotheses using more elaborate measures.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Wilson, Dwain R.