Many congrats to Dr. McCaffree, who recently published an article entitled "Atheism, Social Networks and Health: A Review and Theoretical Model" in the journal, Secularism and Nonreligion.
In this article, Dr. McCaffree addresses an important gap in our understanding of social capital in predicting health outcomes: no work has systematically investigated the structural differences between the social networks of god-believers and atheists. This is an especially important gap given that religiosity appears to be declining throughout the Western world. Despite stereotypes of atheists as atomized, psychologically unhealthy and anti-social, a growing body of evidence suggests that strongly-identified atheists are more likely to join secular social clubs as well as benefit from better mental and physical health compared to less affirmatively-identified secular individuals. As a step toward developing this line of research, this article operationalizes social network structure within the study of secularism, discusses the available research with a focus on atheism in particular, and integrates this research into a schematic theoretical model of atheist self-identity, network structure and health.
Dr. Kevin McCaffree is an Assistant Professor in the UNT Department of Sociology.
Photo Credit: Juan Bendana via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)