Individualistic and Structural Attributions of Poverty in the LDS Population

Alex North, Arwen Behrends, Kayla Green, Luis Oquendo,Tamra Dison, Justin Larson,Yohan Delton*, Brigham Young University-Idaho

Full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v10/north.html

Abstract A significant amount of research has been conducted on the lay attributions of poverty and the subsequent influence on helping behavior. The purpose of this study was to further the work on how religion mediates poverty attributions by extending the research into a LDS population. As the result of the high conservative influence in the LDS sample, we hypothesized that the individualistic attribution would be the more popular choice. There were 144 BYU-Idaho students that filled out an Internet survey. This survey used a five-point scale to measure students’ attributions of poverty. A factor analysis revealed six factors that accounted for 62.9 percent of the variance, while an ANOVA test showed that individualistic and structural attributions were used more than fatalistic attributions to explain poverty. Our hypothesis was only partially supported. It appears that religious influence reduced the effect that political orientation exerted on poverty attribution. A limitation in our study is our relatively homogenous sample. Future research needs to be conducted to flesh out why religion exerts influence on poverty attributions.

Introduction Recent estimates of poverty showed that 1.4 billion people in developing countries were living in poverty (World Bank Group, 2010). Even in the United States 13.2 percent of the population was estimated to be below the poverty threshold (Bishaw, & Renwick, 2009). Because of the prevalence of poverty in the world a significant amount of research has been conducted on the lay attributions of poverty and the subsequent influence on helping behavior (Wilson, 1996; Hine, & Montiel, 1999).

Read the full manuscript: http://www.kon.org/urc/v10/north.html