SGS Brownbag - Anastasiya Zavyalova, Rice University
Losing the faith: How a child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church affected churchgoer involvement in Philadelphia
Wednesday 15 November 2017 (12h00 - 13h00) - Extranef - 125
Organizational consequences of scandals may be shaped by who inside the organization is associated with the transgressions, how deeply constituents identify with the organization, and the extent of involvement by neighboring organizations. In this study, we simultaneously test these relationships using a unique yearly church-level dataset from the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We explore how public accusations about child abuse by specific priests affected various churchgoer behaviors at the churches where they had worked. We find evidence that an individual church’s association with an accused priest led to a decrease in behaviors indicative of occasional Catholics. However, contrary to some theoretical predictions, this association also led to a decrease in behaviors indicative of dedicated Catholics. We also find evidence of negative spillovers to neighboring Catholic churches for both occasional and dedicated churchgoers. Finally, in follow-on analyses, we find variance in spillover effects to neighboring United Methodist, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches. In aggregate, these results contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of how organizations are penalized after scandals.