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Gender Role Attitudes and Religiosity Across Generations and Decades: A Research Report on an Ongoing Project
Unformatted Document Text:  8 time series must be fairly long. If it lasts only a few years we cannot really account for period effects. Third, it must include the same participants at multiple waves. This is the most difficult criteria since few adequate panel studies exist. A panel study is necessary if we are to account reliably for the possibility of changing attitudes within individuals. Finally, it must include multiple generations of respondents in order to account for generational effects. One possibility is the General Social Survey (GSS) time series, which has been used in several studies of cultural-political attitude change. Harding and Jencks (2003), for example, used GSS data to try to pick apart generational, period, and aging effects on the massive liberalization of attitudes toward premarital sex in the U.S. since the 1960’s and 1970’s. Brewster and Padavic (2000), Brooks and Bolzendahl (2004), and Mason and Lu (1988) used GSS data in their studies of the similarly dramatic liberal trend in attitudes toward the role of women in recent decades. However, the GSS is a series of cross sectional surveys, not a longitudinal panel study, and so we cannot glean from these studies how individuals’ attitudes toward these issues might have changed over time. Another possibility is the ANES panel studies. These include the three wave 1992-94- 96 and 2000-02-04 panels, among others. Some of these NES panels include the requisite survey items, which would allow us to discern individual-level change over time. However, they were all conducted over a period of less than a decade, making it impossible to discern genuine period effects. A third possibility is the panel study of Jennings and his colleagues (e.g., Jennings and Niemi 1968; 1981). This panel has been going on since the 1960s and includes multiple generations. However, the earliest surveys lacked religion questions beyond the simplest

Authors: Mulligan, Ken., Grant, Tobin. and Bryan, Jessica.
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time series must be fairly long. If it lasts only a few years we cannot really account for period
effects. Third, it must include the same participants at multiple waves. This is the most
difficult criteria since few adequate panel studies exist. A panel study is necessary if we are
to account reliably for the possibility of changing attitudes within individuals. Finally, it must
include multiple generations of respondents in order to account for generational effects.
One possibility is the General Social Survey (GSS) time series, which has been used in
several studies of cultural-political attitude change. Harding and Jencks (2003), for example,
used GSS data to try to pick apart generational, period, and aging effects on the massive
liberalization of attitudes toward premarital sex in the U.S. since the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Brewster and Padavic (2000), Brooks and Bolzendahl (2004), and Mason and Lu (1988) used
GSS data in their studies of the similarly dramatic liberal trend in attitudes toward the role of
women in recent decades. However, the GSS is a series of cross sectional surveys, not a
longitudinal panel study, and so we cannot glean from these studies how individuals’ attitudes
toward these issues might have changed over time.
Another possibility is the ANES panel studies. These include the three wave 1992-94-
96 and 2000-02-04 panels, among others. Some of these NES panels include the requisite
survey items, which would allow us to discern individual-level change over time. However,
they were all conducted over a period of less than a decade, making it impossible to discern
genuine period effects.
A third possibility is the panel study of Jennings and his colleagues (e.g., Jennings and
Niemi 1968; 1981). This panel has been going on since the 1960s and includes multiple
generations. However, the earliest surveys lacked religion questions beyond the simplest


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