Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2008 Volume 4 :: Article 3
2008 Volume 4, Article 3
Religious Adherence and Military Enlistment Before and After the 9/11 Attacks

Author: James DeFronzo (University of Connecticut) and Jungyun Gill (University of Connecticut)

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Recent analyses indicate that young people from rural areas of the United States and the South have been more likely than others to enlist in the U.S. armed forces. The current study attempts to determine whether variation in the level of church adherence among the states has had an independent influence on the considerable differences in state enlistment rates for non–prior service active duty enlisted military personnel. The results indicate that church adherence was negatively related to enlistment both before and after 9/11. While the relationships of other factors to enlistment appeared to weaken after 9/11, the relationship of church adherence became stronger. Two other measures of social organization, percent divorced and percent of average annual net state domestic migration during 1990– 2000, displayed patterns of relationship to enlistment that were similar to the pattern of church adherence. Further analyses indicated that the negative effect of church adherence on enlistment rates was connected largely to the divorce rate. Additional findings indicated that a dimension of local culture (religious belief system) might partially condition the apparent social organizational effect of church adherence on enlistment, since in multivariate analyses, the results for evangelical Protestant adherence differed from those obtained for total church adherence.

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