Religion, Spirituality, and Happiness

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Jennifer Weaver


A growing amount of research links happiness with religious involvement. Previous research indicates that a positive relationship is observed between religious involvement and happiness for most major religions, including Islam (Sahraian, Gholami, Javadpour, & Omidvar, 2011), Judaism (Francis, Katz, Yablon, & Robbins, 2004), and Christianity (French & Joseph, 1999). However, to my knowledge, a single-study has not yet looked at associations between a broad range of religions and happiness. This lack of research is also observed in the area of “spirituality.” Spirituality incorporates both faith-driven life direction and belief in a higher power without being specific to a particular religion. I hypothesize that the presence of religion and spirituality are positively associated with happiness in undergraduate students. One hundred and twenty-five volunteers enrolled in upper division psychology courses at a large, Western university completed a paper and pencil survey in exchange for extra credit. Strong, positive correlations were observed between happiness and both religion and spirituality (rs ranged from .23 to .27 between items), which supported the hypothesis. The current study extended previous research by illustrating that the positive association between religion and happiness is present in participants practicing a variety of religions while also including the concept of spirituality.

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