An Empirical Test of a Theory of Factors Affecting Life Satisfaction: Understanding the Role of Religious Experience

Volume
Volume 24
Issue
Fall 1996
Title
An Empirical Test of a Theory of Factors Affecting Life Satisfaction: Understanding the Role of Religious Experience
Abstract

This study examined the relationships between five dimensions of religious involvement (i.e., participation, divine interaction, existential certainty, spiritual gifts, and divine power or authority), two forms of secular social involvement (i.e., social activity and social affiliation), six social background covariates (i.e., marital status, gender, race, age, social class, and traumatic life events), and individual life satisfaction. Following specific theories of life satisfaction previously delineated by Ellison (Ellison, 1991; Ellison, Gay, & Glass, 1989), the study employed nested regression models to analyze data from a convenience sample of 163 adolescents and adults derived from a university (n = 68) and a nondenominational protestant church (n = 95) in the Southeast. In general, findings indicated that individuals with strong religious faith report higher levels of life satisfaction. Specifically, two of the five dimensions of religious involvement, divine power and existential certainty, had relatively strong relationships with life satisfaction, when controlling for social background covariates and secular social involvement. In addition, both forms of secular social involvement have small but persistent positive relationships with life satisfaction when social background variables and religiosity are held constant. Also discussed are the implications of the findings for psychologists interested in personality/developmental theory, social psychology, and counseling.

Author
Dr. N.R. Chumbler
Pages
220 - 232
Price
Add to Cart $5.00