Gender, Religiosity, and Reactions to Strain Among African Americans

Sung Joon Jang, Louisiana State University
Byron R. Johnson, University of Pennsylvania

Previous research applying Agnew's general strain theory (GST) to gender differences in distress and deviant coping is limited not only in number but in model specification. First, previous researchers failed to include negative-emotional reactions to strain, the key variable distinguishing GST from other theories. Second, few studies examined gender differences in interactions involving reactions to strain and conditioning factor, for which we focus on religiosity. Specifically, we hypothesize that: (1) sense of control and social support explain the effects of gender and religiosity on distress, (2) religiosity's distress-buffering effects are larger for women than men, (3) the negative effects of religiosity on aggression are larger for women than men, (4) the positive effects of distress on aggression are larger for men than women, and (5) women are more likely than men to experience inner-directed emotional distress in reaction to strain. Data to test these hyupotheses are drawn from a nationally representative survey of the adult African American population. Structural equation modeling is applied to estimate a latent-variable model and to conduct multi-sample covariance structure analysis, whereas two-stage least squares technique is employed to estimate interactions between two latent variables, distress and religiosity.

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Updated 05/20/2006