Religion and Ingroup Identification As Variables Impacting Secular Newspaper Consumption : Mormons and Orthodox Jews Compared to Mainstream Protestants
University of South Africa
Thesis / Dissertation ETD
This study intends to discover distinctions between two minority groups, Mormons and Orthodox Jews, compared to a mainstream Protestant group, the Methodists, in terms of newspaper behavior. It intends to probe for differences in newspaper readership frequency and uses (Berelson, 1949) between religious minority group members and majority group members.
It originated with the belief that religion (type) and degree of ingroup identification in the minority communities (stronger) would lead to greater newspaper avoidance and limit newspaper use primarily for information/public affairs, rather than Berelson's (1949) other categorizations of socialization, respite, entertainment.
Indeed, minority-majority distinctions did not hold. Important differences emerged between religious and more secular individuals in all communities. It was the degree of religiosity that most deeply impacted newspaper use, not denominational ties. The more individuals scored highly on a "religion-as-spiritual-quest" factor, the less they read newspapers, particularly the business newspaper. For "spiritual questors" of all denominations, the house of worship, with its myriad activities, served as a leisure-time base and, for them, recreational use of the newspaper was minimal.