Encyclopedia of Religion
and Society

William H. Swatos, Jr. Editor

Table of Contents | Cover Page  |  Editors  |  Contributors  |  Introduction  |  Web Version


Covers numerous domains (community, family, income, occupation, and so on) plus global measures of overall satisfaction or happiness (Campbell et al. 1976). The effect of religion on life satisfaction may vary, depending on specific religious orientation and measurement. To the extent that religion provides meaning and purpose, reinforces belief in the benevolence of a higher power in one's life, and integrates individuals into a supportive group, it should be expected to enhance life satisfaction. On the other hand, religious beliefs themselves may be shaped by satisfaction with life circumstances. Empirical studies generally find at least a modest relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction (Ellison et al. 1989, Hadaway 1978, Hadaway and Roof 1978).

See also Well-Being

Doyle Paul Johnson


A. Campbell et al., The Quality of American Life (New York: Russell Sage, 1976)

C. Ellison et al., "Does Religious Commitment Contribute to Individual Life Satisfaction?" Social Forces 68(1989):100-123

C. K. Hadaway, "Life Satisfaction and Religion," Social Forces 57(1978):636-643

C. K. Hadaway and W. C. Roof, "Religious Commitment and the Quality of Life in American Society," Review of Religious Research 19(1978):295-307.

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