URBANA, Ill., Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Anyone can idealize their country and this appears to be a potent option for those who are worse off financially, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Mike Morrison, a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Louis Tay and Ed Diener say their study is based on a Gallup World Poll that reached about 1,000 people in each of 128 countries -- involving 130,000 responses -- about job satisfaction, household income, and how they feel about their life and country.
"No matter where you are in the world, feeling good about your country turned out to be highly associated with personal well-being. This association was stronger for people with low incomes, live in poorer nations and live in non-Western nations," Morrison says in a statement.
"You can hear politicians in any country declare, 'We live in the best country in the world!' and people cheer."
For those with high incomes and living in Western countries, well-being was more closely linked to health, standard of living and job satisfaction -- personal factors. These people assess their well-being in different ways than those who are poorer or live in non-Western country, the researchers say.
"Societal characteristics become even more important to happiness when one's life is not going so well," Diener says. "This might explain why nationalism, the loyalty of sports fans and religiosity can be very strong in the toughest of times."