Religion, deprivation and subjective wellbeing: Testing a religious buffering hypothesis
Keywords:religion, subjective wellbeing, deprivation, poverty, New Zealand
AbstractThe buffering effect of religion upon wellbeing has been well demonstrated; however, the question of whether this buffering effect also extends to protecting the religious against material hardship still requires investigation. We present a Bayesian linear regression model showing that religious affiliation provides a protective buffer against the corrosive effects on subjective wellbeing of living in impoverished conditions. Results from a national probability sample tested with an objective indicator of the deprivation of participants’ local neighbourhood, derived from census data, indicated that religious people living in deprived neighbourhoods were higher in subjective wellbeing than their non-religious counterparts living in those same neighbourhoods (N = 5,984 New Zealanders). It was in impoverished conditions that the difference in wellbeing between religious and non-religious people was apparent; those living in affluent neighbourhoods showed comparably high levels of subjective wellbeing regardless of whether or not they were religious. Our results explore new ground by showing for the first time that the buffering effect of religion is readily apparent within New Zealand.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal. The license prevents others from using the work for profit without the express consent of the author(s). The license also prevents the creation of derivative works without the express consent of the author(s). Note that derivative works are very similar in nature to the original. Merely quoting (and appropriately referencing) a passage of a work is not making a derivative of it.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).