Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Secret ingredient' in religion makes people happier

Date:
December 9, 2010
Source:
American Sociological Association
Summary:
While the positive correlation between religiosity and life satisfaction has long been known, a new study reveals religion's "secret ingredient" that makes people happier.

While the positive correlation between religiosity and life satisfaction has long been known, a new study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review reveals religion's "secret ingredient" that makes people happier.

Related Articles


"Our study offers compelling evidence that it is the social aspects of religion rather than theology or spirituality that leads to life satisfaction," said Chaeyoon Lim, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the study. "In particular, we find that friendships built in religious congregations are the secret ingredient in religion that makes people happier."

In their study, "Religion, Social Networks, and Life Satisfaction," Lim and co-author Robert D. Putnam, the Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University, use data from the Faith Matters Study, a panel survey of a representative sample of U.S. adults in 2006 and 2007. The panel survey was discussed in detail in the recently published book American Grace by Putnam and David E. Campbell.

According to the study, 33 percent of people who attend religious services every week and have three to five close friends in their congregation report that they are "extremely satisfied" with their lives. "Extremely satisfied" is defined as a 10 on a scale ranging from 1 to 10.

In comparison, only 19 percent of people who attend religious services weekly, but who have no close friends in their congregation report that they are extremely satisfied. On the other hand, 23 percent of people who attend religious services only several times a year, but who have three to five close friends in their congregation are extremely satisfied with their lives. Finally, 19 percent of people who never attend religious services, and therefore have no friends from congregation, say they are extremely satisfied with their lives.

"To me, the evidence substantiates that it is not really going to church and listening to sermons or praying that makes people happier, but making church-based friends and building intimate social networks there," Lim said.

According to Lim, people like to feel that they belong. "One of the important functions of religion is to give people a sense of belonging to a moral community based on religious faith," he said. "This community, however, could be abstract and remote unless one has an intimate circle of friends who share a similar identity. The friends in one's congregation thus make the religious community real and tangible, and strengthen one's sense of belonging to the community."

The study's findings are applicable to the three main Christian traditions (Mainline Protestant, Evangelical Protestant, and Catholic). "We also find similar patterns among Jews and Mormons, even with a much smaller sample size," said Lim, who noted that there were not enough Muslims or Buddhists in the data set to test the model for those groups.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Sociological Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Sociological Association. "'Secret ingredient' in religion makes people happier." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207091802.htm>.
American Sociological Association. (2010, December 9). 'Secret ingredient' in religion makes people happier. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207091802.htm
American Sociological Association. "'Secret ingredient' in religion makes people happier." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101207091802.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

Russian Pilot Recalls Successful Balloon Flight

AP (Feb. 1, 2015) American Troy Bradley and Russian Leonid Tiukhtyaev landed a helium-filled balloon four miles offshore in Baja California Sur. (Feb. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Verizon Will Let Users Opt Out Of 'Supercookies'

Verizon Will Let Users Opt Out Of 'Supercookies'

Newsy (Jan. 31, 2015) Verizon says users can remove its ad targeting software from their phones completely. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's "Great Firewall" Frustrates Internet Users

China's "Great Firewall" Frustrates Internet Users

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 31, 2015) The Chinese government moves to tighten regulations for virtual private network (VPN) services that are used to access websites and services normally blocked in China. That&apos;s affected many internet users in the country. Yiming Woo reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Excuses, Excuses: Weirdest Reasons People Give For Tardiness

Excuses, Excuses: Weirdest Reasons People Give For Tardiness

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) CareerBuilder surveyed around 5,000 workers and human resources managers nationwide to compile a list of strange excuses employees used when tardy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins