College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 6-13-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Nathan R. Todd, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Midge Wilson, Ph.D.


In the present study examined students who attend college religious groups to better understand how religious conservatism, religious commitment, and gender may shape gender role ideology and college major choice. A focus on these outcomes of gender role ideology and college major choice is important given the continued persistence of sexism and gender inequality. We examined how personal characteristics and characteristics of the group (i.e., defined by peer and leader attitudes) may shape personal gender role ideology and major choice. We tested how personal, peer, and leader religious conservatism may predict more traditional gender role ideology and the choice of a more traditionally gendered college major while also examining how personal gender, religious commitment, and leader fundamentalism may moderate these associations. To examine these hypotheses we used data from college religious groups where one leader and multiple participants in each group completed a survey. These groups were surveyed from across the U.S. within three distinct Christian traditions: Catholic, Mainline Protestant, and Evangelical Protestant. Given the nested nature of the data (multiple participants within each group), multilevel modeling was used to test study hypotheses. Study findings will contribute to research on the gender disparities with a deeper understand of how religious participation and beliefs may shape gender role ideology and the selection of traditionally gender conforming majors, both of which may contribute to the economic inequality between men and women in the U.S.