Lu, Yun; Yang, Xiaozhao Y (In press): The Two Faces of Diversity: The Relationships between Religious Polarization, Religious Fractionalization, and Self-rated Health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior. DOI: 10.1177/0022146520904373
A dominant discourse in the social sciences theorizes that religious diversity puts individuals’ health at risk via interreligious hostility. However, this discourse overlooks the different subtypes of religious diversity and the moderation of political institutions. To better understand the issue of diversity and health, in this study, we distinguish between two subtypes of religious diversity—polarization and fractionalization— and argue that their impacts on health are heterogeneous. Using a sample of 67,399 individuals from 51 societies drawn from the 2010–2014 wave of the World Values Survey, our multilevel analyses show that religious polarization is negatively associated with individual health, whereas the health effects of religious fractionalization are positive. Moreover, the associations between religious polarization/ fractionalization and individual health are found to depend on the democratic level of the state. In more democratic countries, the negative effects of polarization on health are mitigated, and the positive effects of fractionalization are stronger
F Nie, XY Yang (2019):Smoking in the temple of the holy spirit? Geographic location matters. Health & Place, 58:102139
*lead article in the issue
Smoking at a young age poses significant risks to one's health and is linked with a wide range of deviant conducts. While prior research has looked into the ways in which individual religious characteristics may influence smoking, much less is known about how the overall religious context in which individuals are embedded may affect smoking during adolescence and early adulthood. In this study, multilevel regression analyses were used on nationally representative panel data to explore this understudied area. The results suggest that when a county has higher population share of conservative Protestants, youth living there are more likely to smoke. A similar robust relationship is also found for county-level mainline Protestant population share and smoking. By simultaneously examining both the individual and contextual religious effects on smoking, this study contributes to a renewed, more comprehensive understanding of an important public health and youth deviance issue.
Hu, Anning, Xiaozhao Yousef Yang and Weixiang Luo. 2017. "Christian Identification and Self-Reported Depression: Evidence from China." Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56(4):765-80. doi: doi:10.1111/jssr.12482.
The nexus between religion and mental health in the East has been understudied, where the coexistence of multiple religions calls for scholarly attention to religious identification. This article investigates the impact on self‐reported depression of an individual's identification with Christianity in a non‐Judeo‐Christian and religion‐regulating social setting. Taking advantage of the Chinese General Social Survey 2010, our empirical analyses suggest that people who explicitly identify with Christianity report a significantly higher level of depression compared with both religious nones and self‐claimed Buddhists. In contrast, there is no significant difference in self‐reported depression between religious nones and self‐identified Buddhists. This study supplements current literature on the connection between religious affiliation and mental health with a particular interest in East Asia, suggesting that the consequence on mental health of religious identification is contingent on a religion's social status, and a religion's marginal position may turn religious identification into a detrimental psychological burden.
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X.Y. Yang, F Yang (2018): Estimating religious populations with the network scale-up method: a practical alternative to self-report. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56 (4), 703-719
Getting accurate information on religious demographics from survey-based self-reports presents a difficult task, suffering from the biases of social desirability, personal safety concerns, and the ambiguous definitions of religious identity. An estimation strategy based on the enumeration of social network ties, the network scale-up method (NSUM), has recently been employed to estimate the sizes of hidden populations in criminology and public health, but has not been utilized in the study of religion. In this study, we argue for the advantages of NSUM in overcoming the biases associated with self-reports, and lay out a practical guide for the scholars of religion to the design and calculation of NSUM. We used a recent survey of Chinese international students to illustrate the use of NSUM and estimate the percentage of Buddhists (4.3%) and Christians (8.6%) in this population. We recommend interested scholars to adopt NSUM for its reliability, easy implementation, and more importantly--the affinity between the sociological perspective on religion and the socially-oriented assumption of NSUM.
Operating R codes
Operating R codes
NIE, F., YANG, X. Y., & OLSON, D. V. (2018). RELIGIOUS CONTEXT MATTERS: EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RELIGIOUS CONTEXT AND UNDERAGE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION. REVIEW OF RELIGIOUS RESEARCH. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1007/S13644-017-0320-7
Previous research has demonstrated that individual religious beliefs and practices may reduce the likelihood of underage alcohol consumption, but less is known about how the overall religious cultural influence of a religion may influence individual alcohol consumption behaviors. Using multilevel analyses on two waves of the National Study of Youth and Religion merged with county-level variables from the U.S. Census and the Religious Congregations and Membership Study, we find that a county’s higher Catholic population share leads to more frequent underage drunkenness even after controlling for a wide range of individual and county-level variables. Contrary to other studies’ findings discovered at individual level, a greater population share of conservative Protestants is also linked with higher level of underage drunkenness. This study highlights the importance of viewing religious influence on health behaviors as a contextual, cultural force.
Yang, X. Y., Hu, A., & Yang, F. (2017). Decomposing Immigrants’ Religious Mobility: Structural Shifts and Inter-religion Exchanges Among Chinese Overseas Students. Review of Religious Research. doi:10.1007/s13644-017-0318-1
The religious mobility of immigrants has rarely received a systematic investigation that separates the two mutually exclusive mechanisms: the structural shift that occurs due to an overall environment favorable to certain religions, and the exchange effect that occurs when people voluntarily flow between any pair of two religions. Chinese overseas students constitute the largest foreign student body in the US whose religious mobility pattern remains unexplored and may differ significantly from other types of immigrants in earlier generations, especially regarding the assumed growth of Christianity and changes within other religions and non-religions. Applying quasi-symmetry log-linear model to the pre- and post-immigration religious identifications in a new sample of Chinese oversea students collected from the Midwest in 2016 (n = 916), this study shows that (1) Abrahamic religions including Christianity and Islam have the biggest structural advantage; (2) Eastern religions including Buddhism, Chinese folk religions, and generic polytheism have suffered from structural disadvantages; (3) religious nones (i.e. atheists and agnostics) have remained relatively stable with little structural variation; (4) net of the structural effects, there is a higher level of mutual exchange of members between Buddhism and polytheism, between atheism and agnostic, and between Christianity and atheism.
X.Y. Yang, F Yang (2017): Acculturation versus cultural retention: the interactive impact of acculturation and co-ethnic ties on substance use among Chinese students in the U.S. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health DOI: 10.1007/s10903-017-0598-0
Acculturation is often found to increase substance use among immigrants in the U.S., but such effect may depend on how immigrants are attached to their co-ethnic community. Meanwhile, the high socioeconomic status of some new immigrant groups also challenges the classical assumption that ties to co-ethnic community are associated with deviance. With a sample (n = 960) collected from a population of Chinese students in a large public university in the U.S., we tested how do the interplays between acculturation and co-ethnic ties affect substance use. This study establishes that: (1) different dimensions of acculturation have opposite effects on substance use; (2) acculturative stress does not explain the association between acculturation and substance use; (3) acculturation increases the likelihood of substance use only when one has weak attachment to their co-ethnic community. The findings are consistent for three dependent variables: smoking, drinking, and drunkenness, and for the different constructs of acculturation and co-ethnic ties. Ties to co-ethnic community may provide important social support for immigrants, while acculturation may alleviate the insular subculture that promotes at-risk behaviors. We encourage policy makers to consider the cooperative nature of acculturation and cultural retention for the improvement of health among this growing population.