5 Reasons Why Mormons are Happier, Says Researcher

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This article was originally published in Religion News Service by Jana Riess. Below is an excerpt.

Three years ago, the Gallup organization released the results of a massive study on the link between religion and happiness, surveying 676,000 people.

The result? Mormons and Jews tied for first place, with a 69.4% “Well-Being Index Composite Score.”

Why do Mormons score consistently high in these studies? (See also here and here.)

This past weekend at the International Positive Psychology meeting in Orlando, I met a researcher who recently finished a thesis on just this question. Elisa Hunter (see here) has a master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied with Marty Seligman, considered by many to be the founder of the field.

Here are 5 reasons that Hunter thinks Mormons may have a head start on happiness.

1. A Pro-Social Orientation

“A lot of research suggests that Mormons are the most pro–social group in America. Active Mormons report that they volunteer an average of 35.6 hours per month, including church callings but not missions. Even if you take out religious volunteering (callings and other church service), Mormons still volunteer as much as the national average. Also, Mormons donate more than twice as much (9.3%) of their income as the national average of people who give to charity (4%) and more than four times as much as the national average overall (2%). Excluding tithing, Mormons still contribute a large amount to charity: $2,024 annually.”

To read the rest of the article, go to Religious News Service.

 

Bridget is a newsroom writer at LDS.net. She graduated in April 2015 from Brigham Young University in communications with an emphasis of public relations. She served a Spanish speaking LDS mission in McAllen, Texas. She is a skilled pianist and an expert baker of chocolate chip cookies.