UNCOVERING THE RELATIONS AMONG RELIGIOSITY, EMPATHIC CONCERN, AND HELPING
Certain lines of research support the existence of positive overall relations among religiosity, empathy, and helping, whereas others observe no such relations. These discrepancies may result from inconsistent theoretical definitions, variable operationalizations, and experimental situations. The present study attempted to resolve these inconsistencies to clarify the nature of these relations. One hundred and four university student participants read an ostensible news article describing a fellow student in need of aid. Participants in a realistic helping condition were asked whether they would volunteer to help, whereas participants in a hypothetical helping condition indicated whether they would help if given the opportunity. Intrinsic religious motivation, second naivete orientation, and religious fundamentalism were all positively correlated with state empathic concern, whereas extrinsic-personal motivation, quest motivation, orthodoxy orientation, and religious fundamentalism were associated with various facets of trait empathy. Regarding helping behaviors, a significant main effect of situation realism indicated that individuals in the hypothetical group were more likely to help than were those in the realistic group. An additional significant main effect of second naivete religious orientation suggested that those higher in second naivete were more likely to help than those lower in it. Three significant interactions were found: a) higher intrinsic religious motivation and trait perspective taking predicted increased realistic helping but decreased hypothetical helping, and b) the external critique religious orientation predicted decreased real helping but increased hypothetical helping. Implications of the findings and limitations of the study are discussed.