Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

R.L. Yokley, James Grimm, Paul Wozniak

Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


This thesis investigates the effect of nine sociological variables on church attendance in two churches in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The sample was drawn from a Church of Christ (N=135) and a Southern Baptist church (N=105). The effects of these variables were determined by using the computer program "Multiple Nominal Scale Analysis." The explanatory variables examined with church attendance were other religious activity, education, occupation, income, meaning, belonging, conservatism/ orthodoxy, a general sense of meaning, and the number of other voluntary associations belonged to. Meaning was defined as the belief that one belonged to the New Testament Church. Belonging was divided into two variables; the number of closest friends that attended one's congregation and the number of closest friends in one's denomination. Eight other variables were examined for their effect on belonging, defined as the number of closest friends in one's congregation. They were how many years the subject has been attending his present church, how many years he has been a member of his present church, whether or not the subject's mother and father are living and whether or not each of them attended church, and if so where. Subjects were also asked how long they had lived in or near Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the occupations of one's five closest friends. The findings indicate that in both churches other religious activity was the most powerful predictor of church attendance. In the Church of Christ this was followed by belonging, defined as the number of closest friends in one's congregation, and meaning. In the Baptist church "social status" variables such as income, number of other voluntary organizations belonged to and occupation ranked below other religious activity. This supported the principal hypothesis that attendance in the Church of Christ would be higher and that meaning and belonging would be better predictors of church attendance here than in the Baptist church. Concerning belonging, the findings indicate that the occupations of one's closest friends is important in both churches but where the combined variable of number of years one has attended his present church and number of years he has been a member are important in the Baptist church, the background variable of the church one's father attended is more important in the Church of Christ.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Included in

Sociology Commons