Date of Conferral
Reba S. Glidewell
Previous research has indicated that outcomes of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation could stem from religious discrimination (RLGD). However, there remains an important gap in the current literature regarding RLGD impacts with non-Muslim populations. Further, the moderating effects of sex, race, and national origin (moderating variables [MVs]) have yielded mixed findings concerning anxiety (dependent variable). The intergroup anxiety theory and the integrated threat theory elaborate on perceived threats and potential anxiety of intergroup dynamics. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine the role of religious preferences (independent variable), the MVs, and the RLGD-anxiety relationship. The sample consisted of foreign- and nonforeign-born, Christian theist, non-Christian theist, and nontheist participants from 44 countries and 6 racial groups (N = 414). The direct impact of RLGD through religious intergroup contact (Outgroup Contact Measure) and anxiety (Beck Anxiety Inventory) was measured via regression analyses. While controlling for the MV's, results show that (a) Muslims reported the most religious outgroup contact, whereas, Evangelical/ Fundamentalists reported the least. The (b) most severe differences and the highest and (c) anxiety symptoms were reported by agnostics, atheists, and Muslim women respectively. Findings from this research help clarify that the relationship between RLGD, sex, and anxiety, and show the variation among IV and sex moderations are more unique than initially addressed with Muslims. This is an important contribution to the existing literature and enhances social change by better serving understudied and underrepresented religious preference groups.