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Reading: Forms, Frequency, and Correlates of Perceived Anti-Atheist Discrimination


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Research Article

Forms, Frequency, and Correlates of Perceived Anti-Atheist Discrimination


Joseph Hammer ,

Iowa State University, US
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Doctoral Student in Counseling Psychology
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Ryan Cragun,

University of Tampa, US
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Assistant Professor of Sociology
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Karen Hwang,

Center for Atheist Research, US
About Karen
Senior Research Associate
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Jesse Smith

University of Colorado at Boulder, US
About Jesse
Doctoral Candidate in Sociology
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The nationally representative 2008 American Religious Identification Survey found that 41% of self-identified atheists reported experiencing discrimination in the last 5 years due to their lack of religious identification.  This mixed-method study explored the forms and frequency of discrimination reported by 796 self-identified atheists living in the United States.  Participants reported experiencing different types of discrimination to varying degrees, including slander; coercion; social ostracism; denial of opportunities, goods, and services; and hate crime.  Similar to other minority groups with concealable stigmatized identities, atheists who more strongly identified with their atheism, who were “out” about their atheism to more people, and who grew up with stricter familial religious expectations reported experiencing more frequent discrimination.  Implications for future research tied to the ongoing religion/spirituality-health debate are discussed.

Keywords: atheists discrimination prejudice identity health stigma 
Volume: 1
Published on 16 Oct 2012.
Peer Reviewed


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