Saturday, August 11, 2007

Religion and satisfaction

The previous post looked at the relationship between religion and what people say is important to them. This will look at the relationship between religion and satisfaction with various aspects of life using data from the same survey.

There were no clear differences on two questions: how often do people at work take you seriously? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the country?

There were differences on the following questions: do you feel appreciated by others? All of the strongly religious groups were more likely to say yes. Satisfaction with your job: all of the strongly religious groups reported more satisfaction. Relationship with family: strong Catholics were the most satisfied, strong white Protestants next, and strong black Protestants and the not strongly religious were about equal. Whether you have a better or worse life than your parents did: strong black Protestants were most likely to say better, followed by strong white Protestants. There was no real difference between strong Catholics and the not strongly religious. Accomplishment compared with what you expected in your youth: strong white Protestants and strong Catholics were most likely to say that they'd accomplished more than they expected to; strong Black Protestants and the not strongly religious were about equal.

And finally, how happy you are with the way you look: strong black Protestants and strong Catholics were the happiest. Strong white Protestants and the not strongly religious were about equal. How seriously should we take the strong white Protestant/strong Catholic difference? Well, for those who know and care about such things, the t-ratio for the hypothesis of no difference is about 4. That means pretty strong statistical evidence that strong Catholics are happier about their looks than strong (white) Protestants--I have no idea how to explain it.

Overall, there seems to be a tendency for strongly religious people to be more satisfied with their lives. From these data, it's not possible to know if that's because their lives are better in an "objective" sense or because they have different standards.--David Weakliem

5 comments:

S.S.Stone said...

"strong statistical evidence that strong Catholics are happier about their looks" ...now this is a very interesting fact! We Catholics really do LOVE ourselves eh? *wink*

Anonymous said...

it's awful quiet over on this blog site lately....Sarah

jeia said...

is there any survey-pressure for strong catholics and protestants to portray satisfaction with their work/families/looks regardless of actual satisfaction?

David Weakliem said...

I was away at a conference this weekend, which accounts for the silence. Brad is going to be back from vacation soon (I think tomorrow), so things should soon be back to normal.

On social pressure, my general impression is that there's very little systematic difference between groups. With something like satisfaction, it's very hard to be sure (how could we measure "real" satisfaction), but there have been a few studies which checked survey responses about objective things against official records. None of them found much going on--in some cases, there was a general bias (e. g., some people say they voted when they actually didn't), but not much difference between groups.

S.S.Stone said...

True, measuring real satisfaction would be most difficult...especially if a survey is one that asks " on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most satisfied, 1 being the least...I have filled one out like that and I never really know how to rate ..so i just give a 5 for all the questions..I know that's not good but it's easy!

David I'd like to know how you've felt about filling in for Brad and your thoughts about "blogging". ...perhaps a final post would be appropriate on the topic.