The Origins of Religious Homophily in a Medium and Large School
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How religion influences social interactions, and how social interactions influence religion, are fundamental questions to the sociology of religion. We address these processes and build on Cheadle and Schwadel’s (Soc Sci Res 41:1198–1212, 2012) analysis of selection and influence in religion-based social tie homogeneity (i.e. network–religion autocorrelation) in small schools by analyzing networks from larger schools, by focusing on differences across schools, and by testing different operationalizations of social influence. Using two waves of full network data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and dynamic longitudinal network SIENA models, we find (1) that both selection and influence impact network–religion autocorrelation; (2) that the factors influencing network–religion autocorrelation vary across school contexts; and (3) that religious influence is proportional to the number of friends in an adolescent’s network, which means influence reflects both the size of an individual’s network and the consistency of religion among members of the network. We conclude by addressing potential reasons for differences across school contexts and by discussing the theoretical logic behind the total similarity effect that best operationalized religious influence.
KeywordsSocial networks Religion Adolescents Schools Social selection Social influence
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