Resource stress predicts changes in religious belief and increases in sharing behavior

Human Nature Vol/Iss. 2020(31) Springer Published In Pages: 249-271
By Skoggard, Ian, Ember, Carol R., Pitek, Emily, Jackson, Joshua Conrad , Carolus, Christina


Using multilevel modeling and society-level regressions as well as mediational path modeling, the authors test two alternative models that consider how resource stress, religious beliefs, and beyond-household food and labor sharing may be related. The resource stress model suggests that high resource stress has two consequences: 1) that such stress may lead to beliefs that gods and spirits are associated with weather and 2) that resource stress leads to more sharing. Furthermore, this model suggests that the relationship between resource stress and sharing is not mediated by god beliefs. The alternative model considered, the moralizing high god model, suggests that resource stress will lead to more sharing but it is mediated by moralizing high gods. Before testing the path models, the authors first consider the relationships between resource stress and beliefs about high gods, superior gods, and minor spirits involvement with weather. Since the results were strongest for high gods, the path models focused on high gods. The results largely support the resource stress model rather than the high god moralizing model.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
eHRAF World CulturesResearcher's own and Ember and Ember 1992
Standard Cross Cultural Sample (SCCS)Ember and Ember 1992

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