Reciprocity Between Individual Differences and the Social Environment: Evidence Linking Personality With Religion
Archer, Ashley L.
Some literature suggests that personality is genetic and thus inherent to individual psychology; as such, prior research regarding the relationship between personality and religion examines only how personality affects religion. Employing a sociological framework where the individual and environment are endogenous, this manuscript investigates how the social environment, as indicated by religion, influences personality. Using nationally representative and longitudinal data from Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) I and II surveys, I find that personality is a statistically significant correlate of religion, but the association varies widely based on the dimension of religion measured and respondentsâ€™ age. Furthermore, analyses confirm that personality is unstable as respondents get older and that prior levels of religion predict changes in personality. I conclude by inviting sociologists and psychologists to adopt an interdisciplinary approach in future studies linking personality with religion.