The Conservative Church: Psychosocial Advantages and Disadvantages

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Social Psychology Health Psychology Conservative Church

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Drawing from sociological, psychological, and religious theory and research, it was predicted that the conservative church organization would manifest a set ofpsychosocial advantages and disadvantages. A battery of organizational and psychological measures was completed by 147 members o f four Conservative churches and 157 members of four Mainline churches. As predicted, Conservative churches were reportedly more successful in maintaining themselves as viable organizations, in engendering the commitment of their members to the church, and in assisting members with personal problems. Unexpectedly, they were also more open to change and to differences in beliefs and practices among members than the Mainline churches. Although Conservative members reported a lower sense of personal control and a greater sense of control by God than Mainline members, the groups did not vary in their tolerance for individual differences or active problem-solving skills.

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American Journal of Community Psychology, v. 15, issue 3, p. 269-286.