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“It’s in God’s Hands”: Socioeconomic Status and the Sense of Divine Control among Black and White Elderly
Unformatted Document Text:  1 “It’s in God’s Hands” Socioeconomic Status and the Sense of Divine Control among Black and White Elderly SCOTT SCHIEMAN TETYANA PUDROVSKA University of Maryland, College Park An NIA grant award AG17461 (Leonard I. Pearlin, P.I.) supports this work. Addresscorrespondence to Scott Schieman, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, 2112 Art-Sociology Building, College Park, MD 21742-1315. E-mail: ## email not listed ## ABSTRACT What types of people are more likely to perceive that God controls their fate? Using data from a sample of 1,167 black and white elderly, we examine the effects of two forms of socioeconomic status (SES)—education and income—on the sense of divine control. We also explore whether or not those effects vary by race, as well as explanations for any race-contingent effects. Results indicate that education and income are associated negatively with the sense of divine control, although those effects are significantly stronger among whites. Adjustment for race-linked differences in religiosity reduces part of the race gap, but the effect remains significant. In contrast, we fail to find support for the deprivation-compensation hypothesis, which proposes that the disadvantaged seek out religion as compensation. Specifically, adjustment for an array of potential stressors (i.e., perceived unfair treatment, life events, economic hardship, health conditions, and neighborhood problems) has little effect on the race-contingent effects of SES. Taken together, our final model explains over half of the total variation in the sense of divine control. We discuss the implications of our findings for common assertions about race and class differences in religious precepts and practices and offer speculation about the persistence of SES-by-race effects irrespective of the degree of religiosity and stressors.

Authors: Schieman, Scott. and Pudrovska, Tetyana.
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1
“It’s in God’s Hands”
Socioeconomic Status and the Sense of
Divine Control among Black and White Elderly
SCOTT SCHIEMAN
TETYANA PUDROVSKA
University of Maryland, College Park
An NIA grant award AG17461 (Leonard I. Pearlin, P.I.) supports this work. Address
correspondence to Scott Schieman, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, 2112 Art-
Sociology Building, College Park, MD 21742-1315. E-mail: ## email not listed ##
ABSTRACT
What types of people are more likely to perceive that God controls their fate? Using data from a
sample of 1,167 black and white elderly, we examine the effects of two forms of socioeconomic
status (SES)—education and income—on the sense of divine control. We also explore whether
or not those effects vary by race, as well as explanations for any race-contingent effects. Results
indicate that education and income are associated negatively with the sense of divine control,
although those effects are significantly stronger among whites. Adjustment for race-linked
differences in religiosity reduces part of the race gap, but the effect remains significant. In
contrast, we fail to find support for the deprivation-compensation hypothesis, which proposes
that the disadvantaged seek out religion as compensation. Specifically, adjustment for an array of
potential stressors (i.e., perceived unfair treatment, life events, economic hardship, health
conditions, and neighborhood problems) has little effect on the race-contingent effects of SES.
Taken together, our final model explains over half of the total variation in the sense of divine
control. We discuss the implications of our findings for common assertions about race and class
differences in religious precepts and practices and offer speculation about the persistence of
SES-by-race effects irrespective of the degree of religiosity and stressors.


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