1997 Volume 24 Issue 2 Pages 179-191
Studies of sociopolitical attitudinal shifts toward increased conservatism have failed to adequately distinguish among period, age and cohort effects. Using a modified Bayesian cohort procedure and data from the General Social Survey, we disentangle these effects and test 3 hypotheses derived from past literature. Results show that period shifts have occurred in the conservative direction for variables concerning moral issues and crime, but in the liberal direction for civil liberties and women's rights. Increased age is associated with increased conservatism with regard to women's rights and homosexuality, but otherwise, does not lead to increased conservatism. Cohort effects show that more recent cohorts are increasingly conservative in their attitudes toward drug use and homosexuality, but are otherwise relatively liberal.