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Religious people happier with friends in pews
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
December 10, 2010
2 MIN READ TIME

Religious people happier with friends in pews

Religious people happier with friends in pews
Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service
December 10, 2010

Close friendships among

congregants, rather than theology seem to be the key to happiness among

religious people, according to a new study.

One-third of Americans who

attend religious services weekly and have three to five close friends in the

congregation said they are “extremely satisfied” with their lives.

In comparison, only one in

five Americans who attend services weekly but have no close friends in the

congregation say they are extremely satisfied.

“In short, ‘sitting alone in

the pew’ does not enhance one’s life satisfaction,” conclude authors Chaeyoon

Lim of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Robert D. Putnam of Harvard

University in a December article in the American Sociological Review.

“Only when one forms social

networks in a congregation does religious service attendance lead to a higher

level of life satisfaction.”

Researchers found that 23

percent of people who attend religious services several times a year and have

three to five close friends in the congregation are extremely satisfied. About

a fifth of people who never attend services say they are extremely satisfied

with their lives.

The findings are from the

Faith Matters Survey of U.S. adults, which included 3,108 people in 2006 and

1,915 in 2007.