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Social Trends in American LifeFindings from the General Social Survey since 1972$
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Peter V. Marsden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133317

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133317.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Religion and Happiness

Religion and Happiness

(p.288) 11 Religion and Happiness
Social Trends in American Life

Michael Hout

Andrew Greeley

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the link between happiness and religion. It draws on meaning-and-belonging theory to deduce that a religious affiliation heightens happiness through participation in collective religious rituals. Attendance and engagement appear key: a merely nominal religious affiliation makes people little happier. Notably, two religious foundations of happiness—affiliation with organized religious groups and attendance at services—have fallen. Softened religious engagement, then, may contribute to the slight downturn in general happiness. In fact, steady happiness is reported among those who participate frequently in religious services, but falling levels among those who are less involved. The chapter also considers the association between religion and happiness outside the United States using data from the International Social Survey Program, an international collaborative survey to which the General Social Survey contributes the American data.

Keywords:   religion, happiness, religious affiliation, social trends, organized religion, religious rituals

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