Weathering the Storm: How Faith Affects Well-Being

Jan 22, 2020 by

Active Christians exhibit greater current life satisfaction and are more likely to report that they are thriving. In addition, active Christians have higher levels of subjective well-being throughout the entire business cycle—not just in booms, but in the busts as well. Our results suggest that religion and religious communities will continue to play a driving role in helping people cope with change by keeping their eyes pointed towards the eternal even as storms surge around them.

Economists have found that there is a strong association between measures of subjective well-being (SWB) and the business cycle: when the economy is doing well, people feel good. For example, Gallup found that only 7 percent of Americans felt satisfied at the height of the 2008 Great Recession, whereas U.S. respondents reported new heights of satisfaction in 2018 at 38 percent. (That might still seem low, but that’s a separate story!)

Does religious affiliation affect how this relationship holds? According to our recent study, the answer is yes.

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