University of Central Florida Undergraduate Research Journal - Exploring Cognitive Dissonance between College <br/> Students’ Religious and Spiritual Beliefs and Their <br/> Higher Education
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With perceptions of conflict between religion and science often appearing in popular discussions and academic writings, cognitive dissonance may result if college students find their epistemological beliefs challenged during their undergraduate education. The purpose of this study is to explore whether students experience cognitive dissonance between their religious and spiritual identity and their college education and experiences, as well as whether certain factors in college life lead to cognitive dissonance. College students (N = 272) from the Central Florida area were surveyed with measures exploring the dimensions of college life that affect the likelihood of students experiencing tension between their religious and spiritual beliefs, and their course material and college experiences. Results from binary logistic regressions reveal that the level of a student's religiosity and/or spirituality bears no relation to experiencing cognitive dissonance. Involvement in fraternities and sororities, partying, and church attendance were associated with a decrease in the likelihood of experiencing cognitive dissonance. These results may suggest a social factor that mitigates cognitive dissonance for students.

KEYWORDS: religion, spirituality, college, cognitive dissonance

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