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November 9, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Are religious people happier? Does happiness correlate with religious involvement and/or spirituality?

Here are some scientific results about the religion and happiness relationship based on research across a number of studies:

The Legatum Prosperity Index reflects the repeated finding of research on the science of happiness that there is a positive link between religious engagement and wellbeing: people who report that God is very important in their lives are on average more satisfied with their lives, after accounting for their income, age and other individual characteristics.[10]

Surveys by Gallup, the National Opinion Research Center and the Pew Organization conclude that spiritually committed people are twice as likely to report being “very happy” than the least religiously committed people.[11] An analysis of over 200 social studies contends that “high religiousness predicts a lower risk of depression and drug abuse and fewer suicide attempts, and more reports of satisfaction with sex life and a sense of well-being,”[12] and a review of 498 studies published in peer-reviewed journals concluded that a large majority of them showed a positive correlation between religious commitment and higher levels of perceived well-being and self-esteem and lower levels of hypertension, depression, and clinical delinquency.[13]A meta analysis of 34 recent studies published between 1990 and 2001 found that religiosity has a salutary relationship with psychological adjustment, being related to less psychological distress, more life satisfaction, and better self-actualization.[14]Finally, a recent systematic review of 850 research papers on the topic concluded that “the majority of well-conducted studies found that higher levels of religious involvement are positively associated with indicators of psychological well-being (life satisfaction, happiness, positive affect, and higher morale) and with less depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, drug/alcohol use/abuse.”[15]


One Comment

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  1. Nathan Ketsdever / Nov 9 2011 3:15 am

    If you look at the bottom of p. 201 of this article, it points out how studies which conclude differently tend to rig the game.,%20Mental%20Health,%20and%20%20Prosocial%20Behavior.pdf

    “self-discipline, altruism, humility, obedience to authority, and conventional morality are weighted negatively”

    Religious Commitment, Mental Health, and Prosocial Behavior: A Review of the Empirical Literature,
    John Gartner

    Here are a couple other articles with similar themes:

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