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College of Liberal and Fine Arts

Christopher Ellison, Ph.D.

Dean's Distinguished Professor
Department of Sociology

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Phone: (210) 458-6241
Office: MS 4.02.44

Research area: The implications of religiousness and spirituality for mental and physical health and mortality risk

  • Biography

    Christopher G. Ellison holds a B.A. in Religion (1982) and a Ph.D. in Sociology (1991), both from Duke University. Prior to joining the UTSA faculty in 2010, he taught at the University of Texas at Austin for 19 years. His research centers on several main issues: (1) the implications of religion and spirituality for mental and physical health and mortality risk; (2) religious variations in family life, with particular attention to intimate relationships and childrearing; (3) the role of religious institutions, practices, and values among racial and ethnic minority populations in the United States; (4) the influence of religious factors on political attitudes and policy preferences; and (5) public opinion surrounding issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration in the contemporary United States. Ellison has published two books and nearly 200 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on these and other topics; his work has appeared in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Sociology, Social Forces, Social Science Research, the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, and a wide range of other journals in sociology, psychology, public health, religious studies, family studies, gerontology, political science, and allied fields. Over the years his research has been supported by various branches of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Lilly Endowment, and other private foundations. Ellison has held numerous elected and appointed positions in scholarly societies, including Chair of the Sociology of Religion section of the American Sociological Association, President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, and Vice-President and President of the Southern Sociological Society, among others, and he serves on the editorial boards of a diverse array of scholarly journals. Among his various honors, in 2004 he was chosen as a Highly Cited Author (Social Sciences, General category) by the Institute for Scientific Information, and in 2015 he was inducted as a charter member of the UTSA Academy of Distinguished Researchers.   

  • Recent Courses


    • SOC 3093 Religion and Society
    • SOC 3043 Race and Ethnic Relations


    • SOC 6143 Sociology of Religion
    • SOC 6903 Social Psychology of Health and Illness
    • SOC 6903 Getting Published in Sociology
  • Research in Progress

    Dr Ellison's major areas of research include:

    • Religious influences on mental and physical health and mortality risk
    • Religious variations in family life, with particular attention to intimate relationships and childbearing
    • The role of religion in racial and ethnic minority populations
    • Religious influences on social and political attitudes
    • Attitudes and policy preferences involving race and ethnicity in the U.S.
  • Recent Publications

    • Ellison, Christopher G., Nicholas H. Wolfinger, and Aida Ramos-Wada. 2013. Attitudes Toward Marriage, Divorce, Cohabitation, and Casual Sex among Working-age Latinos: Does Religion Matter? Journal of Family Issues 34: 295-322.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., Matt Bradshaw, Nilay Kuyel, and John P. Marcum. 2012. Attachment to God, Stressful Life Events, and Changes in Psychological Distress. Review of Religious Research 53: 493-511.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., and Amy M. Burdette. 2012. Religion and the Sense of Control among U.S. Adults. Sociology of Religion 73: 1-22.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., Marc A. Musick, and George W. Holden. 2011. Does Conservative Protestantism Moderate the Association between Corporal Punishment and Child Outcomes? Journal of Marriage and Family 73: 946-961.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., Heeju Shin, and David L. Leal. 2011. The Contact Hypothesis and Attitudes toward Latinos in the United States. Social Science Quarterly 92: 938-958.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., Anthony Walker, Norval D. Glenn, and Elizabeth Marquardt. 2011. The Effects of Parental Marital Discord and Parental Divorce on the Religious and Spiritual Lives of Young Adults. Social Science Research 40: 538-551.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., and Robert A. Hummer, eds. 2010. Religion, Families, and Health: Population-based Research in the United States. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
    • Ellison, Christopher G., Amy M. Burdette, and W. Bradford Wilcox. 2010. `The Couple that Prays Together': Race, Ethnicity, Couples' Religious Involvement, and Relationship Quality among Working-age Adults. Journal of Marriage and Family 72: 963-975.