Happiness and Religious Attendance

Master's Thesis


People who attend religious services are more likely to report higher levels of happiness. Although this relationship has been documented in numerous studies, the theoretical explanation is unclear. Some studies argue that religious involvement enhances one’s relationship with God, which increases one’s level of happiness. Other studies suggest that religious involvement increases one’s number and quality of social ties, which increase one’s level of happiness. In this paper, I compare these explanations by examining two key mediating variablesÌ¢âÂ"self-reported relationship with God and strength of social ties from the religious organizationÌ¢âÂ"to explain the correlation between religious attendance and happiness, finding that both mediate the relationship between religious attendance and happiness. In the second part of this analysis, I question the degree to which the assumed causal direction of religious attendance to happiness is accurate. Using a cross-lagged model of change over time, I compare the paths of religious attendance to happiness and happiness to religious attendance. I find that the path from religious attendance to happiness is much stronger than the alternative.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04172009-085150

Author Ellen Childs
Advisor David Sikkink
Contributor David Sikkink, Committee Chair
Contributor Jessica Collett, Committee Member
Contributor Juliana Sobolewski, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Sociology
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2008-12-05

Submission Date 2009-04-17
  • United States of America

  • religious attendance

  • well-being

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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