Saturday, March 19, 2011

Religious people are (a little) less angry

I don't know how I got so lucky, but I've managed to find a small group of conservative professors to have lunch with every week--three of them are even socially conservative. What are the odds of four of those in the same room?  One fellow is retired and gets angry all the time because greedy, selfish, short-sighted businessmen are ruining the country with mass immigration. He thinks the Southwest is finished.

I worry about his health (he's 79 and has a various health problems), so I told him that this is where religion comes in (he converted to Roman Catholicism a few years back). Thinking about your country will only make you mad, but rest assured that, in the end, everything will be alright. Life is only a moment; focus on eternity.

After, I wondered if it is true that religious people are less angry than the irreligious. I regressed a GSS question on the frequency of feeling angry onto a list of demographic variables and church attendance. Here are the results (sample size = 1,181)

Standardized OLS Regression Coefficients

Age -.18*
Male -.02
Black .02
Education -.03
Income .05
Church attendance -.06*

*statistically significant effect

Older people and those who attend church frequently are significantly less angry than their counterparts. The other characteristics don't matter. (I'm surprised blacks are not angrier than whites. Anger cannot explain their higher rates of violence).

In addition to giving a person "the big picture," religion--most religions, at least--frowns on anger. My priest patiently hears my confessions of anger far too often. Angry white dude--I'm such a stereotype.   

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I'm surprised blacks are not angrier than whites. Anger cannot explain their higher rates of violence"

Higher impulsivity+Less Conscientiousness+shorter Long Term Orientation (that latter one prevents them from analyzing potential consequences)

They don't really come across as angry; in fact they come across as a bit too jocular.

silly girl said...

you said blacks aren't angrier than whites, but didn't list the results for whites. Could you post it?

Thanks

Ron Guhname said...

The variable "Black" is actually two categories: blacks = 1 and whites = 0. I label it "Black" to signal that it is the high value. If I find a positive relationship, for example, then the high values on one variable are correlated with the high values on the other variable. In this case, the statistical significance test indicates that blacks and whites don't differ on anger. Even though the coefficient I report is .02, the test indicates that we should assume it is .00--no difference.

Anonymous said...

Have you asked the other (non-conservative) profs how diverse are the neighborhoods in which they've chosen to live? How diverse are the schools their children attend? How diverse are the schools their grandchildren attend?

If so, how do they respond?

Anonymous said...

Have you asked the other (non-conservative) profs how diverse are the neighborhoods in which they've chosen to live? How diverse are the schools their children attend? How diverse are the schools their grandchildren attend?

If so, how do they respond?


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You already know the answers, Anon. You already know.