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Measuring religiousness among African Americans: Exploring race-of-interviewer effects

Publication Abstract

Ellison, Christopher G., Michael J. MacFarland, and Neal Krause. 2011. "Measuring religiousness among African Americans: Exploring race-of-interviewer effects." Review of Religious Research, 53(1): 65-84.

In recent years a number of studies have explored possible sources of nonrandom error and response bias in survey data on religion. Building on a longstanding body of work in the social sciences, we examine a neglected issue in this domain: the potential for race-of-interviewer effects, specifically in African Americans' self-reports of various dimensions of religiousness. After outlining two competing perspectives on this issue-which we term racial deference and racial solidarity-we test relevant hypotheses using data from the African American oversample of a nationwide study of older adults. Results indicate that older blacks tend to report higher levels of non-organizational religious practices and subjective religiousness when interviewed by whites. A number of implications and promising directions for future research are discussed.

DOI:10.1007/s13644-011-0002-9 (Full Text)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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