Date of Award

Fall 2004

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Donald H. Smith

Committee Member

Garland F. White

Committee Member

Edward Eule

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 S65 2004


The purpose of this study was to confirm the existence of a positive correlation between religious participation and social capital, and to show that such a correlation varies considerably when specific demographic variables, and denominational and organizational dynamics are accounted for. Beginning with the early theoretical works of James S. Coleman, The World Bank and Robert Putnam, research has shown the importance of studying the philosophy and science of social capital, and the significance of measuring interrelated concepts like community volunteerism, political involvement, and religious participation. However, much of this research surveys national audiences and either completely ignores or spends minimal effort exploring the various factors that distinguish population segments from one another, and potentially affect the relationships between social capital and constructs like religious participation. Findings in this study revealed that, while it may appear uniformly on a national level, the relationship between religious participation and social capital in anything but consistent when examining particular types of participation in specific regions, such as involvement in a Christian collegiate faith-based organization in Virginia.


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