Much ado about religion: Religiosity, resource loss, and support for political violence
The association between religion and violence has raised much interest in both academic and public circles. Yet on the individual level, existing empirical accounts are both sparse and conflicting. Based on previous research which found that religion plays a role in the support of political violence only through the mediation of objective and perceived deprivations, the authors test Conservation of Resource (COR) theory as an individual level explanation for the association of religion, socio-economic deprivations, and support for political violence. COR theory predicts that when individualsâ€™ personal, social or economic resources are threatened, a response mechanism may include violence. Utilizing two distinct datasets, and relying on structural equation models analysis, the latter two stages of a three-stage study are reported here. In a follow-up to their previous article, the authors refine the use of socio-economic variables in examining the effects of deprivation as mediating between religion and political violence. Then, they analyze an independent sample of 545 Muslims and Jews, collected during August and September 2004, to test a psychological-based explanation based on COR theory. This study replaces measures of deprivation used in the previous stages with measures of economic and psychological resource loss. Findings show that the relationship between religion and support of political violence only holds true when mediated by deprivations and psychological resource loss. They also suggest that the typical tendency to focus on economic resource loss is over-simplistic as psychological, not economic, resources seem to mediate between religion and support of violence.
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