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Spirituality and Subjective Religiosity Among African Americans, Caribbean Blacks, and Non-Hispanic Whites

Authors

  • LINDA M. CHATTERS,

    1. Linda M. Chatters is a Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in the School of Public Health and a Professor of Social Work in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, MI. E-mail: chatters@umich.edu
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  • ROBERT JOSEPH TAYLOR,

    1. Robert Joseph Taylor is the Sheila Feld Collegiate Professor of Social Work and the Associate Dean for Research in the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan, MI. He is also the Associate Director of the Program for Research on Black Americans at the Institute for Social Research and is a Faculty Associate with the Center for Afro-American and African Studies. E-mail: rjtaylor@umich.edu
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  • KAI M. BULLARD,

    1. Kai McKeever Bullard is a Health Research Analyst in the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GA. E-mail: hjo1@cdc.gov
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  • JAMES S. JACKSON

    1. James S. Jackson is the Daniel Katz Distinguished University Professor of Psychology in the Psychology Department and Director of the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, MI. E-mail: jamessj@umich.edu
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Correspondence should be addressed to Linda M. Chatters, 109 Observatory St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2029.

Abstract

Patterns and correlates of self-perceptions of spirituality and subjective religiosity are examined using data from the National Survey of American Life, a nationally representative study of African Americans, Caribbean blacks, and non-Hispanic whites. Demographic and denominational correlates of patterns of subjective religiosity and spirituality (i.e., religious only, spiritual only, both religious/spiritual, and neither religious/spiritual) are examined. In addition, the study of African Americans and Caribbean blacks permits the investigation of possible ethnic variation in the meaning and conceptual significance of these constructs within the U.S. black population. African Americans and Caribbean blacks are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to indicate that they are “both religious and spiritual” and less likely to indicate that they are “spiritual only” or “neither spiritual nor religious.” Demographic and denominational differences in the patterns of spirituality and subjective religiosity are also indicated. Study findings are discussed in relation to prior research in this field and conceptual and methodological issues deserving further study are noted.

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