Better than I deserve : evangelical Protestantism's effect on subjective social status.


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Subjective social status (SSS), a measure of a person’s self-perceived social ranking compared to a reference group on socioeconomic variables (income, occupation, and education), is an effective indicator of a person’s overall health. To date, studies of SSS’ determinants have focused on psychosocial factors, as well as the role of neighborhood satisfaction and cultural identity. However, nearly one in four people report turning to their spiritual beliefs or ethical values to determine their SSS (MacArthur Network 2008). This study examines differences in SSS across religious group affiliation and religiosity and how those religious differences vary across racial groups. Findings from the Baylor Religion Survey (Wave 5) show that when the referent is more distal (i.e., “other Americans”) evangelical Protestants rank their SSS higher compared to all others, especially among white evangelicals. When the referent is more socially proximate (i.e., “your friends”), there is no statistical difference between evangelicals and others. This suggests that evangelical Protestantism is a determinant of SSS.



Evangelical Protestant. Subjective social status.