Religious People Have Higher Self-Esteem

If they live in a country that values religion

If they live in a country that values religion, religious people statistically feel better about themselves, with a tendency toward higher social self-esteem and better psychological adjustment than non-believers. 

Researchers gather data from eDarling, a European dating site affiliated with eHarmony. The date-matching questionnaire includes a question about how important your personal religious beliefs are and questions that get at social self-esteem and how psychologically well-adjusted people are. Jochen Gebauer of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Constantine Sedikides of the University of Southampton, and Wiebke Neberich of Affinitas GmbH in Berlin, the company behind eDarling, analyzed a whopping 187,957 people’s answers.

The researchers found that more religious people had higher social self-esteem and were psychologically better adjusted. The people analyzed lived in 11 different European countries, ranging from Sweden, the least religious country on the planet, to devoutly Catholic Poland.

On average, believers only got the psychological benefits of being religious if they lived in a country that values religiosity. “We think you only pat yourself on the back for being religious if you live in a social system that values religiosity,” Gebauer says. In other words, living up to societal values in religious societies can result in higher social self-esteem.

Another study echoed these findings but focused on one country, between students at religious and non-religious universities.

Have you found this to be true in your city or university? 

Image: Mexico City’s Cathedral Attribution Some rights reserved by Francisco Diez

Category: Belief

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