Objective: Religious identification is associated with specific values, particularly conservation values that focus on social rather than personal interest. Recent research, however, suggests that the psychological repercussions of religious commitment can persist after people cease identifying as religious. We examine if this religion residue effect leads to differences in values between those who were once religious but no longer identify as religious and those who never identified as religious. Methods: We use longitudinal survey data to examine how changes in identification with religion are associated with Schwartz's circle of values. Results: Results show that religious affiliates were more likely than both those who disaffiliated across waves and those who consistently had no affiliation to endorse each of the social focus values except universalism. As hypothesized, when it came to conservation values, those who disaffiliated from religion were more similar to affiliates than were those who were consistently unaffiliated. Additional analyses showed that (a) associations between religious identification trajectories and values were largely consistent across genders, and (b) those who disaffiliated from evangelical Protestant denominations stood out from other disaffiliates. Conclusions: We conclude with a discussion of how these findings further understanding of the association between religion and personal values.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology