Hoge, D. R., Johnson, B., & Luidens, D. A. (1994). Vanishing boundaries: The religion of mainline Protestant baby boomers. Louisville, KY: Westminster.
Putnam, Robert P. 1995a. "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital." Journal of Democracy 6:65-78.
Putnam, Robert P. 1995b. "Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America." PS: Political Science and Politics 28:664-83.
Brehm, J., & Rahn, W. (1997). Individual-Level Evidence for the Causes and Consequences of Social Capital. American Journal of Political Science, 41(3), 999-1023.
historical decline in religiousness from the 1950s to the 1970s (Wink, 2003)
cultural changes of post 1960s America (Roof, 1999)
Over many generations, Americans have defined their relation to God in the context of organized religious institutional practices. Since the 1960s in the U.S., this pattern has changed as a result of the emergence of alternative ways of questing and the seeking of spiritual connection outside conventional places of worship (Wink, 2003)
Robert Wuthnow (1998) has distinguished between religious dwellers whose relation to the sacred is mediated by traditional forms of religious authority, and spiritual seekers for whom individual autonomy appears to take precedence over external authority. In other words, the dwellers find it comforting to inhabit a space that is created for them by established religious institutions and one that is steeped in centuries of tradition. In contrast, the seekers are explorers who are most comfortable
in occupying a space that is largely of their own creation although the materials used to construct and demarcate this space are typically borrowed from various existing religious traditions. Whereas dwellers are concerned about the freedom to exercise individual conscience within the framework of an established organized religious institution (e.g., Dillon, 1999), seekers place an emphasis on the freedom to choose among the various religious strands that span Western and Eastern traditions.
Unlike religious dwellers, spiritual seekers place a greater emphasis on personal growth and healing, emotional self-fulfillment, and finding the sacred in everyday life (e.g., Moore, 1992).
Wuthnow (1998) offers the concept of a “practice” oriented spirituality as a way of insuring that spiritual seeking preserves the discipline and commitment associated with traditional forms of religiousness
While Roof (1999) endorses Wuthnow’s distinction between dwelling and seeking, his study of aging baby boomers’ spirituality has focused more on showing how the expansion of the American “spiritual market-place” has resulted in the proliferation of different religious orientations among middle aged Americans. Roof thus appears to conceive of dwelling and seeking as parallel types of religious involvement rather than seeing spirituality as a cultural successor to traditional religiousness.
As early as 1950, Erich Fromm argued for a differentiation between authoritarian and humanistic religion based on whether an individual’s faith involved embracing religious teachings offered by traditional religious institutions or whether the faith was derived from the individual’s subjective experiences and was the result of a process of self-creation. Subsequently, Fromm (1976) reformulated this distinction in terms of having faith and being in faith.
Fromm, E. (1950). Psychoanalysis and religion. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Fromm, E. (1976). To have or to be. New York: Harper & Row
Americans as a group or cohort have increased in their spiritual interests since the 1960s has implications for the study of how individuals change over time. In cross-sectional research,
a cultural shift toward spirituality may result in spurious findings, such as those of Levin (1993) who
found greater interest in mystical experiences among younger individuals, that reflect cohort effects rather than age-related changes.
Levin, J. (1993). Age differences in mystical experience. Gerontologist, 33, 507–513
Roof (1993) attributes the surge of interest in spirituality to the baby boom generation’s quest for personal and transpersonal meaning outside of the confines of organized religion. Since the 1960s, a new “generation of seekers” (Roof, 1993)
has turned to Jungian psychology, Eastern philosophies and practices, and a variety of self-help groups and manuals to satisfy their spiritual needs. As suggested by Wuthnow (1998), many Americans are no longer content to dwell within the religious institutions of their ancestors but seek alternatives that meet their unique personal needs and predilections.
Wuthnow,R. (1998). After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the 1950s. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
The development of spirituality has also been associated with individual differences in personality, including greater individualism (Roof, 1993, 1999) and a stronger need for independence (Zinnbauer et al., 1997).
Roof, W. C. (1993). A generation of seekers. The spiritual journeys of the baby boom generation. San Francisco: Harper & Row.
Roof, W. C. (1999). Spiritual marketplace: Baby boomers and the remaking of American religion. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Wuthnow (1998), for example, drawing on a long tradition in religious formation (e.g., dating back to
Saints Ignatius and Benedict), emphasizes a practice oriented spirituality, one that is based on performance of intentional activities aimed at relating to the sacred.
Wuthnow,R. (1998). After Heaven: Spirituality in America since the
1950s. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Roof, W. C. (1993). A generation of seekers. The spiritual journeys of the baby boom generation. San Francisco: Harper & Row
Wink, P., & Dillon, M. (2002). Spiritual Development Across the Adult Life Course: Findings from a Longitudinal Study. Journal of Adult Development, 9(1), 79-94
Wingrove, C. R., & Alston, J. P. Cohort analysis of church attendance, 1939-1969. Social Forces, 1974,55, 324-331
Glenn, N. D., & Zody, R. E. Cohort analysis with national survey data. Gerontologist, 1970, 10, 233-240
Orbach, H. L. Aging and religion: A study of church attendance in the Detroit metropolitan area. Geriatrics, 1961, 16, 530-540
“builder” generation (a term used to describe persons born before 1946) value duty and honesty as major values. Duty shaped their worldview. They support their government and honor elected leaders in church, business, industry, and society. They generally believe in working hard and keeping their word. “An honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay” describes their approach to work. Their word and a handshake is more important and more binding to them than a written contract
boomer generation (individuals born1946–1964) on the other hand, questioned governmental structures and distrusted the “establishment” (elected leaders in church, business, and industry). Rather than honoring “duty” as a primary value, they were more pragmatic.
“Buster” and “X” generations replaced duty and honesty as major values with “relationships” as the key to understanding their worldview.
Schwadel, P., & Stout, M. (2012). Age, Period and Cohort Effects On Social Capital. Social Forces, 91(1), 233-252
generational declines in social capital
Generation X is relatively unengaged due to declining idealism and an increased sense of economic risk and vulnerability (Kiesa et al. 2007).
Kiesa, Abby, Alexander P. Orlowski, Peter Levine, Deborah Both, Emily Hoban Kirby, Mark Lopez, and Karlo Barrios Marcelo. 2007. Millennials Talk Politics: A Study of College Student Political Engagement. College Park, MD: Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement
Jennings and Stoker (2004) focused on intergenerational changes in trust and civic activity with the use of longitudinal data. Though informative, these longitudinal studies are limited in their ability to estimate period-based changes. In sum, empirical evidence suggests potential across-cohort declines
in social capital, but previous research is hampered by its focus on a single domain of social capital (i.e., informal association, formal association or trust) and by modeling techniques that are unable to satisfactorily disentangle period and cohort effects.
Jenning, M. Kent, and Laura Stoker. 2004. “Social Trust and Civic Engagement Across Time and
Generations.” Acta Politica 39:342-79.
Rotolo and Wilson (2004) compared the voluntary behavior of two successive generations of women at the same age.
Rotolo, Thomas, and John Wilson. 2004. “What Happened to the Long Civic Generation? Explaining Cohort Differences in Volunteerism.” Social Forces 82:1091-21.
Wilkes (2011) employed a more appropriate modeling strategy and also found that trust declines across cohorts, though her findings are limited because she did not report uncontrolled age, period and cohort effects for individual measures of trust, and her analysis also focused on a single aspect of social capital
Wilkes, Rima. 2011. “Re-Thinking the Decline in Trust: A Comparison of Black and White Americans.” Social Science Research 40:1596-1610.
Putnam (1995, 2000) and others (e.g. Brehm and Rahn 1997; Robinson and Jackson 2001) have argued that declines in social capital generally occur across generations or birth cohorts.
Brehm, John, and Wendy Rahn. 1997. “Individual-level Evidence for the Causes and Consequences of Social Capital.” American Journal of Political Science 41:999-1023.
others argue that some domains of social capital may decline while others do not (e.g. Paxton 1999; Wuthnow 2004). Consequently, Costa and Kahn (2001) concluded that the extent of decline in social capital has generally been overstated.
Paxton, Pamela. 1999. “Is Social Capital Declining in the United States? A Multiple Indicator Assessment.” American Journal of Sociology 105:88-127.
Wuthnow, Robert. 2004. “United States: Bridging the Privileged and the Marginalized?” In Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, edited by Robert D. Putnam. Pp. 59–101. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Costa, Dora L., and Mathew E. Kahn. 2001. “Understanding the Decline in Social Capital, 1953-1998.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. 8295. Available at: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8295
generational decline in social capital. For instance, Robinson and Jackson’s (2001) findings suggest that trust has declined across generations. Unfortunately, their study was limited to one aspect of social capital, and their “additive” model may not provide stable estimates of period and cohort effects (Glenn 1981).
Robinson, Robert V., and Elton F. Jackson. 2001. “Is Trust in Others Declining in America? An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis.” Social Science Research 30:117-145.
Glenn, Norval D. 1981. “Age, Birth Cohorts, and Drinking: An Illustration of the Hazards of Inferring Effects from Cohort Data.” Journal of Gerontology 36:362–69.
Putnam (2000) proposed that generations born before 1930 have considerably higher levels of social capital and civic engagement throughout their lives than do generations born since 1930. Americans who experienced the Great Depression and World War II, he says, are the most civically active. More recent generations, on the other hand, are less likely to volunteer and do not contribute to the production of social capital to the same extent as older generations. He attributed the cause of this generational shift to the increasing role played by technology in people’s lives, especially the popularity of television (Putnam 1995).
Although Putnam (2000) pointed to generational differences in social capital, he acknowledged that his analysis technique could not differentiate age, period and cohort effects.
Putnam, Robert D. 1995. “Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America.” PS: Political Science and Politics 28:664-83.
______. 2000. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster
Sander, T. H., & Putnam, R. D. (2010). Still bowling alone? The post-9/11 split. Journal of Democracy, 21, 9–16.
Gentile, B., Twenge, J. M., & Campbell, W. K. (2010). Birth cohort differences in self-esteem, 1988–2008: A cross-temporal meta-analysis. Review of General Psychology, 14, 261–268
Schwadel, P., & Stout, M. (2012). Age, period, and cohort effects on social capital. Social Forces, 91, 233–252.
Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Gentile, B. (2012). Generational increases in agentic self-evaluations among American college students, 1966–2009. Self and Identity, 11, 409–427.
declines in social capital are due to generation, or cohort, effects (Brehm & Rahn, 1997; Putnam, 1995, 2000; Robinson & Jackson, 2001
Twenge, J. M., Campbell, W. K., & Carter, N. T. (2014). Declines in Trust in Others and Confidence in Institutions Among American Adults and Late Adolescents, 1972–2012. Psychological Science, 25(10), 1914-1923
Tang, F. (2006). What Resources Are Needed for Volunteerism? A Life Course Perspective. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 25(5), 375-390.
changes across the life course are actually shaped by three related influences:
1. individual aging--- Individual aging is associated with those changes that occur as an individual grows chronologically older and passes through the life cycle.
2. cohort effects --- Cohort effects are differences between groups sharing similar life events (such as
marriage or military service) at different points in historical time.That is, the experience of one cohort (such as the young men who entered the military during World War II) differentiates it from its successive cohorts (e.g., those born and raised in the post-war era).
3. period effects --- period effects are associated with the major events that exist at a given period in time. That is, period effects exist when the influence of social change is relatively uniform across
successive birth cohorts. For example, the Civil Rights Movement affected several cohorts simultaneously.
Disentangling these three influences to discern the causes of change or difference between cohorts is indeed a daunting task, and there does not currently exist any statistical technique to enable us to reliably and systematically do so (Morgan and Kunkel, 1998). Thus, explanations about changes within the life course must allow for all three of these forces. This issue is further complicated when taking into consideration the cohort and period effects that may influence the sequence of progression through the life course.
@Peacock, J. R., & Poloma, M. M. (1999). Religiosity and Life Satisfaction Across the Life Course. Social Indicators Research, 48(3), 321-345.
period effects, specifically secularization (e.g., Chaves 1991; Firebaugh and Harley 1991; Hout and Greeley 1990). Chaves (1989) concludes there is no age effect on church attendance in the 1972-86 period
Firebaugh, Glenn, and Brian Harley. 1991. Trends in U.S. church attendance: Secularization and revival, or merely life cycle effects? Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 30: 487-500.
but most scholars argue that the major processes operating in recent decades are cohort replacement (resulting in declining religiosity) and a relatively stable main effect of age (Firebaugh and Harley 1991; Hout and Greeley 1990).
Hout, Michael, and Andrew M. Greeley. 1987. The center doesn't hold: Church attendance in the United States, 1940-1984. American Sociological Review 52: 325-45.
1990. The cohort doesn't hold: Comment on Chaves (1989). Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 29: 519-24.
1998. What church officials' reports don't show: Another look at church attendance data. American Sociological Review 63: 113-19.
@Argue, A., Johnson, D. R., & White, L. K. (1999). Age and Religiosity: Evidence from a Three-Wave Panel Analysis. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 38(3), 423-435
the age at which fewer persons adhere to traditional religious beliefs occurs precisely at the age that separates the pre-World War II generations from the post-war generations. Persons who were from 40 to 49 in 1963, at the time these data were collected, were from 17 to 26 at the time the war broke out. It is these people, and those born after them, who have been most shaped by the emergence of an America of mobile city dwellers, inhabiting a fast, technical, mass society. World War II was a water-shed between this new world and the older America of parochial small town and rural society. While all of the persons in this sample today live in this new America, those past 50 did not grow up in it. The data strongly suggest that in this newer America traditional Christian orthodoxy is less powerful.
Stark, R. (1968). Age and Faith: A Changing Outlook or an Old Process? Sociology of Religion, 29(1), 1-10.
V. Bengtson, The Generation Gap: A Review and Typology of Social-Psychological Perspectives, Youth and Society, 2, pp. 7-3 1, 1970.
Bengston (1975), in his study of value transmission between the generations, identifies two meaning continua: materialism/humanism and individualism/collectivism
Bengston (1975) Generational and family effects in value socialization. American Sociological Review, 40, 358± 371
secularization to account for period effects
family formation to account for cohort effects
For those who argue that declining participation in religious organizations indicates secularization, decreasing rates of attendance are required to show period effects. Chaves (1989) argued that attendance has declined across the periods studied; Hout and Greeley (1987) used similar data and argue that no period effect is evident.
Cohort effects were discussed by Hout and Greeley (1987) as combinations of age and period effects. "For Protestant women . . . the 1920-24 cohort has exceptionally low attendance. This is the cohort that grew to maturity during World War II- a period of low attendance among Protestants" (p. 330). The combination of critical event and critical point in the life cycle seems important for a cohort effect.
Chaves (1989, 1990, 1991) argued for age, period, and cohort effects which he relates to secularization (period) and family formation (cohort)
1991 Family structure and Protestant church attendance: The sociological basis of cohort and age-effects. Jourzal for the Scientific Study of Religion 30:501-514.
1990 Holding the cohort: Reply to Hout and Greeley. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 29:525-530.
1989 Secularization and religious revival: Evidence from U.S. church attendance
Hout and Greeley (1990, 1987) found that an age effect is dominant and that cohort effects are evident only for women.
Hout, Michael K. and Andrew M. Greeley
1987 The center doesn't hold: Church attendance in the United States, 1940-1984. American Sociological Review 52:325-345.
1990 The cohort doesn't hold: Comment on Chaves (1989). Journal for the Scienztific Study of Religion 29:519-524
Iannaccone (1990) showed that rational choice provides theo- retical support for increased attendance over the life course
Iannacone, Laurence R. 1990 Religious practice: A human capital approach. Journzal for the Scientific Study of Religion 29:297-314
Firebaugh and Harley (1991) argued for an age effect, using a cohort replacement model as explanation. In their model each cohort repeats the experience of the previous one. Since the cohort replacement model postulates only age effects, with no period or cohort effects, it supplements the larger argument of Hout and Greeley (1987, 1990), but conflicts with models advanced by Chaves
Hout and Greeley (1987, 1990), Chaves (1989, 1990, 1991), and Firebaugh and Harley (1991)
@Ploch, D. R., & Hastings, D. W. (1994). Graphic Presentations of Church Attendance Using General Social Survey Data. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 33(1), 16-33