Paternal religious affiliation and practice in Lithuania: spiritual goods or secular utilities?

Dmitri Medvedovski (Department of Business & Economics, Bethel University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Kirk Allison (Program in Human Rights and Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Publication date: 4 December 2017



Religious pursuits may promote explicitly “spiritual” goods (theo-relational connectedness, character formation, etc.) and “secular” utilities including health. The purpose of this paper is to initiate investigation of this intersection for paternal religious practices in Lithuania’s dynamic post-Soviet social context. Reflecting on religio-political history, the nature of the religious field, spiritual capital, and externalities related to confessional identity, what relationships exist between institutional engagement, devotional practice, education and other predictors in the post-Soviet Lithuanian religious context?


Original data were collected in 2011 (returning 73 of 100 surveys) in Klaipėda, Lithuania. Correlation and χ2 identified variables for regression analysis. Given Ordinary Least Squares heteroscedasticity (Breusch-Pagan test), weighted least squares modeling estimated coefficients for extra mural and institutional religious practice generically and differentiated by confessional identity.


Generically and by confessional identity, utility differences in institutional context appear paradoxical to secularization hypotheses. While correlated, institutional engagement and non-institutional devotional practice evidenced non-complementarity regarding educational attainment: greater education predicted higher institutional engagement but sparer devotional life. The authors suggest in explanation higher opportunity costs in individual devotional practice opposite positive offsets from secondary institutional utilities (e.g. social networking). Both were predicted by education, work hours, the non-dependent religious practice variable, self-reported health status, patterned by confessional identity, specifically Protestant opposite majority Catholic. Intergenerationally, a gender gradient was identified.


This analysis illuminates with original data divergent public institutional and private devotional religious practice utility structures in a dynamic transitional post-Soviet context.



This research was partially funded through a 2012 Bethel University Edgren Scholars grant with Student Assistant Andrew Reynan. The authors gratefully acknowledge Julija Gaiduk of the Social Sciences Faculty of LCC International University, Klaipėda, Lithuania, for data collection and LCC International University for translation of the instrument. The authors appreciate the helpful comments of the reviewers and editor concerning the initial submission, in particular the helpful detailed theoretical and structural engagement by Reviewer 2 which far exceeded our expectations.


Medvedovski, D. and Allison, K. (2017), "Paternal religious affiliation and practice in Lithuania: spiritual goods or secular utilities?", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 44 No. 12, pp. 1758-1777.



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