Carl A. Happold Professor Profile Image
Carl A. Happold Professor Sociology 740 Oldfather Hall

Curriculum Vitae

Google Scholar



My research focuses on religion and politics in the United States, with an emphasis on social status, social contexts, and social change. The association between social class and religious beliefs, practices, and affiliations has been a long-standing interest of mine, going back to my dissertation. My research also explores the changing nature of Americans’ religious and political perspectives, addressing both temporal and generational changes. Combining these areas of research, some of my work examines generational changes in the association between social class and religious and political perspectives. Always looking for the social influence, my work emphasizes how social contexts of various kinds—including religious congregations, social networks, and generational and temporal contexts—affect religious and political outcomes. Information on my publications can be found at my Google Scholar and Researchgate pages.


Current Research

Building on the work I did with the Pew Research Center while on leave from UNL in 2018-2019, I am now returning to some of my earlier work on adolescent religion in the U.S. I plan on writing a series of articles looking at the role of religion in school, how teenagers navigate religion among their friends, and the prevalence and consequences of religious bullying in school.

At the same time, I am continuing to use existing survey data to further explore the associations between religion and politics and the changing nature of American religion. This research focuses on the direct and indirect effects of religious affiliations and beliefs on political outcomes such as party affiliation, political tolerance, and views of government spending. I also have an ongoing project on social networks in churches. My colleagues and I have collected network data in three churches. I plan to continue this line of research with both additional churches and additional waves of data collection within the same church.

Most recently, I have been working with colleagues in psychology to examine the social-psychological consequences of religious disaffiliation. The proportion of Americans who have no religion has grown tremendously—from about 7% in 1990 to between a quarter and a third of the population today. Our work examines how Americans who leave religion often retain some of the psychological dispositions associated with being religious. We refer to this as the “religious residue effect.”


Current Teaching

I teach various courses on religion, including Sociology of Religion, Sociology of Global Religious Diversity, and a graduate seminar on religion. I also teach Social Problems, Sociological Theory, and the graduate-level publications seminar.


Student Opportunities

I regularly publish with graduate students. For instance, I recently published work on religious change among lesbian, gay, and bisexual young adults in the United States (with Brandi Woodell, former UNL graduate student and current faculty member at Old Dominion University) and on changes in the effects of social class on political tolerance (with Christopher Garneau, former UNL graduate student and current faculty member at University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma). I have works-in-progress with graduate students (current and former) on political messages and support for environmental initiatives, on the association between the religious makeup of a community and the prevalence of hate crimes, and on the effects of education on support for capital punishment. I also plan to do more with the data we collected on social networks in churches, with opportunities for student involvement.


Selected Recent Publications

Religion and Social Class

Schwadel, Philip. 2017. “The Positives and Negatives of Higher Education: How the Religious Context in Adolescence Moderates the Effects of Education on Changes in Religiosity.Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 56(4):869-885.

Schwadel, Philip. 2016. “Does Higher Education Cause Religious Decline? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Within- and Between-Person Effects of Higher Education on Religiosity.” The Sociological Quarterly 57:759-786.

Schwadel, Philip. 2016. “Social Class.” Pp. 345-371 in Handbook of Religion and Society, edited by David Yamane. Switzerland: Springer.


Social Change (Time Periods and Birth Cohorts)

Johnson, Erik W. and Philip Schwadel. 2019. “It is Not a Cohort Thing: Interrogating the Relationship between Age, Cohort and Support for the Environment.” Environment & Behavior 51(7):879-901.

Johnson, Erik W. and Philip Schwadel. 2019. “Political Polarization and Long-term Change in Public Support for Environmental Spending.” Social Forces 98(2):914-941.

Anderson, Amy L., Robert Lytle, and Philip Schwadel. 2017. “Age, Period, and Cohort Effects of Death Penalty Attitudes in the U.S., 1974-2014.” Criminology 55(4):833-868.

Schwadel, Philip and Christopher G. Ellison. 2017. “Period and Cohort Changes in Americans’ Support for Marijuana Legalization: Convergence and Divergence across Social Groups.” The Sociological Quarterly 58(3):405-428.


Religion and Politics

Johnson, Erik W. and Philip Schwadel. 2019. “Political Polarization and Long-term Change in Public Support for Environmental Spending.” Social Forces 98(2):914-941.

Schwadel, Philip and Christopher R. H. Garneau. 2019. “Sectarian Religion and Political Tolerance in the United States.” Sociology of Religion 80(2):168-193.

Schwadel, Philip. 2020. “The Politics of Religious Nones.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 59(1):180-189.

Schwadel, Philip. 2017. “The Republicanization of Evangelical Protestants in the United States: An Examination of the Sources of Political RealignmentSocial Science Research 62:238-254.


The Religious Residue Effect

Schwadel, Philip, Sam A. Hardy, Daryl R. Van Tongeren, and C. Nathan DeWall. Forthcoming. “The Values of Religious Nones, Dones, and Sacralized Americans: Links Between Changes in Religious Affiliation and Schwartz Values.” Journal of Personality.

Van Tongeren, Daryl R., C. Nathan DeWall, Sam A. Hardy, and Philip Schwadel. Forthcoming. “Religious identity and morality: Evidence for religious residue and decay in moral foundations.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


Other Publications of Interest

Hackett, Conrad, Philip Schwadel, Gregory A. Smith, Elizabeth Podrebarac Sciupac, and Claire Gecewicz. 2018. “Choose the method for aggregating religious groups that is most appropriate for your research.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 57(4):807-816.

Schwadel, Philip and Amy L. Anderson. 2022. “Religion and Americans’ Fear of Crime in the 21st Century.” Review of Religious Research 64:145-161.

Woodell, Brandi and Philip Schwadel. 2020. “Changes in Religiosity among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Emerging Adults.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 59(2):379-396

Schwadel, Philip. 2018. “Grokking Modernity,” in Daniel Hirschman, ed. “Viewpoints: Why Sociology Needs Science Fiction.” Contexts 17(3): 14-16.

Schwadel, Philip. 2018. “Cross-National Variation in the Social Origins and Religious Consequences of Religious Non-Affiliation.” Social Science Research 70:254-270.

Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Areas of Specialization:

  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Stratification
  • Social Change