Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Religion's Impact on Political Trust

Publication Date

Spring 2022


Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Nathan Griffith

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


This study investigates whether practicing a religion affects an individual’s political trust in government institutions. It tests Alexis de Tocqueville’s long-standing idea that religion plays a substantial role in political trust as the foundation of civil society. If religion is the basis for civil society and civil society is a source of public trust in political institutions, then individuals who practice a religion should have a higher tendency for greater trust in political institutions. This study uses survey data with over 12,000 responses in eight countries to test whether religious involvement and specific religious denominations increases an individual’s political trust in their government institutions. Comparing responses about religious involvement and identities regarding government confidence tests whether there is a statistically significant difference in the odds of increasing political trust. The wide range of countries, religious populations, cultures, and histories tested allow this study to investigate beyond the primarily protestant Christian democracy United States of de Tocqueville’s visits to see if religion plays an integral role of fostering political trust as de Tocqueville claimed.

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