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February 21, 2012 2:00 pm

US Jews Rank High in Religiosity and Well-Being Survey

avatar by Deby Medrez Pier

Ashkenazi Jews of late 19th century Eastern Europe portrayed in Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur (1878), by Maurycy Gottlieb.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey conducted 676,080 random telephone interviews with adults aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia in order to examine the relationship between religiosity and physical and emotional health.

The studies showed that very religious Americans of all major faiths have a higher overall well-being than their respective counterparts who are moderately religious or non-religious. The strong positive relationship between religiosity and well-being that Gallup previously demonstrated holds true regardless of faith. The  relationship appears to be largely independent of the proportions of very religious, moderately religious, and nonreligious in each religious group, and it is more closely aligned with the faith itself.

From all the different faiths Jews have highest well-being overall, despite being the least religious.

Religious service attendance promotes social interaction and friendship with others, and Gallup analyses have clearly shown that time spent socially with others themselves are positively associated with high well-being. Religion generally involves more meditative states and faith in a higher power, both of which have been widely used as methods to lower stress, reduce depression, and promote happiness and religion provides mechanisms for coping with setbacks and life’s problems, which in turn may reduce stress, worry, and anger.

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