Interfaith Groups as Mediating Structures for Political Action: A Multilevel Analysis

Nathan R Todd, Brett A. Boeh, Jaclyn D. Houston-Kolnik, Rachael L. Suffrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study investigates interfaith groups from across the United States to understand how these religious settings may serve as mediating structures to facilitate individual political action. Based on a multilevel modeling analysis with 169 individuals from 25 interfaith groups, we found that core activities of the group, such as group members sharing community information (e.g., announcing upcoming events, political meetings, community issues) or sharing religious information (e.g., educating members about their religion) positively and negatively predicted individual political action as a result of group participation, respectively. Moreover, a sense that the interfaith group served as a community to work for local change, but not trust within the group, predicted political action as a result of group participation. However, this effect for a sense the group served as a community to work for local change was stronger and more positive as the degree of community information sharing in the group increased. These results show that a core activity of sharing community information may enhance the ability of a group to mediate political action. Overall, these findings demonstrate the potential role of interfaith groups to mediate political action, and show the importance of considering both individual and group characteristics when understanding these religious settings. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-119
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Volume59
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

Keywords

  • Empowering community settings
  • Interfaith groups
  • Religious settings
  • Social processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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