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Study: Friends at Church Bring Happiness

Friday, 10 Dec 2010 07:27 AM

Why are churchgoers happier than people who don’t attend religious services?

Previous research has shown that churchgoers report feeling more content with their lives than people who don’t frequent church.

The question those studies didn’t answer was what aspect of participating in a religious community accounted for the level of satisfaction — prayer, attending church, theology, or spirituality. But a new study seems to have discovered the key: regular attendance and strong social bonds with other congregants.

A study in the December issue of the American Sociological Review found that when people with similar church-attendance habits are compared, the social connection organized religion provided as well as a shared sense of religious connection, belonging, and identity were factors in determining happiness.

“Ninety percent of the correlation between church attendance and life satisfaction can be explained if you have these close interactions,” Chaeyoon Lim, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and lead author of the study, tells USA Today.

Even churchgoers who attend services only several times a year experience an increased sense of well-being if there is a group of friends within the community who share a sense of religious identity, the study found.

To read the complete USA Today story — Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

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