The "Protective Effects" of Religious Continuity for Academic Achievement among Racial/Ethnic Minorities and Immigrants at Elite Colleges and Universities in the United States

Jayanti Owens, Princeton University

Stratification research focuses on race, class, and gender, but often overlooks religion, which also shapes identity. Although some scholars predict the decline of religion as an organizing principle in modern society, they nonetheless agree that to the extent religion remains predictive of adult social and economic outcomes, religious behaviors formed in college tend to persist into adulthood. A shortage of longitudinal measures of religiosity limits previous attempts to measure religious decline in college, and its associations with indicators of social mobility, like academic achievement. Because elite institutions recruit racial/ethnic minority and immigrant students, and these students comprise America's future leadership, studies of their religious change is critical. Using a racially diverse sample of students at 28 elite institutions, this study finds declining religious participation in college, but declines do not disrupt lasting path dependencies between childhood and college religiosity and academic performance, particularly for racial/ethnic minorities and immigrants.

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Presented in Poster Session 2