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Religiosity and the Definition, Frequency, and Justification of Lying by Congressional Staff

Giles, Scott A
Format
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Author
Giles, Scott A
Advisor
Childress, James F
Abstract
Religiosity and the Definition, Frequency, and Justification of Lying by Congressional Staff Scott A. Giles, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA Introduction: Public polling indicates that a majority of Americans want their public officials to have strong religious beliefs. While it is commonly assumed that religious convictions are associated with ethical behavior, little research has been conducted to test this among public officials. Methods: A random sample of Congressional staff was surveyed to identify their religious affiliation, measure their religiosity, the frequency with which they reported being lied to and lying during the prior 24 hours, their definition of lying, justifications for lying, and their assessment of eight cases drawn from professional practice. Results: The religious affiliation of Congressional staff mirrors the general U.S. adult population and differs from the religious affiliation of members and senators in one significant aspect. While no member or senator indicates that they are not affiliated with a religious community, 16% of staff mirror U.S. adults and report not having any religious affiliation. House staff reported higher religiosity scores than Senate staff and Republican staff reported higher religiosity scores than Democratic staff. Congressional staff reported lying an average of 2.5 times per day, a rate slighly higher than that found in other populations. This mean masked the fact that many staff reported telling no lies and that a small percentage of prolific liars accounted for nearly half of all reported lies. No significant correlation was found between religiosity scores and the frequency of lying. A significant correlation was found, however, between the frequency with which respondents believed they were lied to and the frequency with which they reported lying.
Language
English
Published
University of Virginia, Department of Religious Studies, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2014
Published Date
2014-04-28
Degree
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Collection
Libra ETD Repository
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