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      The Effect of Religiosity on Life Satisfaction in a Secularized Context: Assessing the Relevance of Believing and Belonging

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          Abstract

          The positive relationship between religiosity and life satisfaction is well-established. This relationship is, however, likely to vary across cultural contexts and different religious affiliations. Furthermore, research is needed to uncover why religion is relevant for life satisfaction. Addressing these issues, we investigate what dimensions of being religious play a role in the life satisfaction of individuals with different religious affiliations, including the understudied Muslim category, in the highly secularized Dutch context. We examine ‘believing’, which captures how religion provides meaning and a coherent worldview, and ‘belonging’, which comprises both cultural benefits of being embedded in a congregation with a shared framework of meaning and structural benefits due to more social ties. Analyses of the NEtherlands Longitudinal Lifecourse Study ( n = 5312) first indicate that Muslims display significantly lower life satisfaction than the non-religious, which appears to be due to their underprivileged social position rather than intra-religious factors of believing and belonging. Second, we find that Catholics experience significant life satisfaction benefits compared to those who are not religious, and that only belonging plays a role in this association. Next to the beneficial effect of the structural aspect of belonging, which revolves around social ties, a cultural aspect of religious belonging appears to be salient, suggesting that an important life satisfaction advantage of religious communities lies in their ability to foster a sense of solidarity and commitment through a shared framework of meaning. We make several recommendations for further research based on these findings.

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          Most cited references65

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          Modernization, Cultural Change, and the Persistence of Traditional Values

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            Assessing subjective well-being: Progress and opportunities

            Ed Diener (1994)
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              Contingencies of self-worth in college students: theory and measurement.

              The Contingencies of Self-Worth Scale assesses 7 sources of self-esteem in college students: academics, appearance, approval from others, competition, family support, God's love, and virtue. In confirmatory factor analyses on data from 1,418 college students, a 7-factor model fit to the data acceptably well and significantly better than several plausible alternative models. The subscales all have high internal consistency, test-retest reliability, are distinct from other personality measures, and have a simplex structure arrayed on a continuum from external to internal sources of self-esteem. Contingencies of self-worth assessed prior to college predicted how students spent their time during their 1st year of college.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                tenkate@fsw.eur.nl
                dekoster@fsw.eur.nl , http://www.willemdekoster.nl
                vanderwaal@fsw.eur.nl , http://www.jeroenvanderwaal.com
                Journal
                Rev Relig Res
                Rev Relig Res
                Review of Religious Research
                Springer US (New York )
                0034-673X
                17 January 2017
                17 January 2017
                2017
                : 59
                : 2
                : 135-155
                Affiliations
                ISNI 0000000092621349, GRID grid.6906.9, Department of Public Administration and Sociology, , Erasmus University Rotterdam, ; P.O. Box 1738, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                Article
                282
                10.1007/s13644-016-0282-1
                5487934
                28680186
                cace4738-f2b2-4760-a570-628a47e0755f
                © The Author(s) 2017

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                History
                : 7 June 2016
                : 28 December 2016
                Categories
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                © Religious Research Association, Inc. 2017

                General religious studies
                believing,belonging,life satisfaction,religion,religious affiliation,subjective well-being

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