Violence, Insecurity, and Religiosity: A Multilevel Analysis of 71 Countries

39 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2017 Last revised: 6 May 2018

Miguel Carreras

University of Pittsburgh

Ajay Verghese

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 30, 2018

Abstract

A large social science literature demonstrates a link between personal insecurity and religiosity. When individuals are healthy, literate, and gainfully employed, they tend to be less religious. One of the most fundamental threats to an individual is the risk of violence, but this important marker of insecurity has been unexplored in recent studies of the determinants of religiosity. We use a unique dataset that measures state-sponsored terror, an ideal measure for studying insecurity, and explore the relationship between violence and religious beliefs and practices in 71 countries during the period 1981-2011. We find a robust positive association between violence and religiosity, and offer several reasons to believe that this is a causal relationship. Drawing on psychological studies, we argue that the specific mechanism at work deals with religious coping, a uniquely efficacious way of combating the stress and anxiety produced by the threat of recurrent violence.

Keywords: Political Violence, Insecurity Theory, Religiosity, World Values Survey, Terror

Suggested Citation

Carreras, Miguel and Verghese, Ajay, Violence, Insecurity, and Religiosity: A Multilevel Analysis of 71 Countries (April 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3048799 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3048799

Miguel Carreras

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Ajay Verghese (Contact Author)

University of California, Riverside (UCR) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Riverside, CA 92521
United States

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