More people turn to god in societies under stress

August 9th, 2011 - 12:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) Many more people turn to god in stressed societies and also seem happier. However, when peace and plenty reign, people are happier independently of their religious affiliations, says a new study.

This is the first study to analyse religion and happiness on a global scale, said University of Illinois psychology professor Ed Diener, who led the research and is a senior Gallup scientist, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology reports.

“Difficult circumstances lead more strongly to people being religious. And in religious societies and in difficult circumstances, religious people are happier than non-religious people,” Diener said, according to an Illinois statement.

“But in non-religious societies or more benign societies where many people’s needs are met, religious people aren’t happier - everyone’s happier,” added Diener.

The study examined data from the 2005-2009 Gallup World Poll, which surveyed more than 150 countries and included questions about religious affiliation, life satisfaction, respect, social support and positive and negative feelings.

Religious people in religious societies report feeling respected, receive more social support and experience more positive and less negative feelings than their peers who are not religious. Globally, 68 percent surveyed said they were religious.

In secular societies, which in many cases are wealthier and have more social support, religious and non-religious people experience higher well-being and positive feelings.

Religious people in secular countries report more negative feelings than the non- religious, however.

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