Religious Congregations as Mediating Structures for Social Justice: A Multilevel Examination

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Scholars in the field of community psychology have called for a closer examination of the mediating role that religious congregations serve in society, especially in relation to the promotion of social justice. The current study provides such an examination, offering a multilevel examination of religious individuals (n = 5,123) nested within religious congregations (n = 62) with a particular focus on how individual and congregational level variables (i. e. theological orientation, frequency of religious attendance, bonding and bridging social capital) predict individual prioritization of and participation in congregational social justice activities. Findings indicated that individual level theological orientation was associated with prioritization, and demographics and social capital bonding were associated with prioritization and participation. Furthermore, congregational bridging social capital was associated with the prioritization of justice, whereas congregational theological orientation moderated the associations between frequency of religious participation for both prioritization of and participation in congregational justice activities. These findings show that specific aspects of the congregational setting (i. e., congregational theological orientation) are important to the individual prioritization of and participation in social justice activities. These findings provide support for the role of religious congregations as mediating structures for social justice. Implications for future research are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-237
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican journal of community psychology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


  • Mediating structures
  • Religiosity
  • Religious organizations
  • Social capital
  • Social justice
  • Theological orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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