Religion From the Target’s Perspective: A Portrait of Religious Threat and Its Consequences in the United States

Michael H. Pasek, Jonathan E. Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Little is known about social identity threat from religion or religiosity. We collected data from a diverse sample of Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and Muslims across the United States (N = 970) to test whether, and for whom, religion and religiosity, like other social identities, can be consequential sources of identity threat. Results suggest that religious threat is highest among religious minority groups (Muslims and Jews) and highly religious Protestants. Threat predicted (1) lower belonging, (2) a greater propensity to conceal one’s religion, and (3) more intergroup bias, although these patterns varied somewhat by religion. Results illuminate how a broader social climate in which religion and specific religious groups are often the subject of heated rhetoric may trigger identity threat and exacerbate intergroup hostilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-93
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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