Baring Their Souls in Online Profiles or Not? Religious Self-Disclosure in Social Media


Piotr Bobkowski, University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Stauffer-Flint Hall, Rm. 209A, 1435 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS, 66045. E-mail:


This study measured the prevalence of religious self-disclosure in public MySpace profiles that belonged to a subsample of National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) wave 3 respondents (N = 560). Personal attributes associated with religious identification as well as the overall quantity of religious self-disclosures are examined. A majority (62 percent) of profile owners identified their religious affiliations online, although relatively few profile owners (30 percent) said anything about religion outside the religion-designated field. Most affiliation reports (80 percent) were consistent with the profile owner's reported affiliation on the survey. Religious profile owners disclosed more about religion when they also believed that religion is a public matter or if they evaluated organized religion positively. Evangelical Protestants said more about religion than other respondents. Religiosity, believing that religion is a public matter, and the religiosity of profile owners’ friendship group were all positively associated with religious identification and self-disclosure.