Those attending religious services happier

March 24, 2012 at 11:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- U.S. adults attending a church, synagogue or mosque often report more positive emotions and fewer negative ones, a survey indicates.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, based on 329,152 interviews collected Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011, asked about 1,000 Americans each day about the positive and negative emotions they experienced the previous day.

The positive emotions included smiling and laughter, enjoyment, happiness and learning or doing something interesting. Negative emotions include worry, sadness, stress and anger.

The survey found, overall, 52 percent of Americans reported experiencing none of the four negative emotions the previous day, but about 30 percent reported experiencing two or more, and nearly 5 percent experienced all four in a day.

The survey also indicated those who frequently attended a church, synagogue or mosque experienced an average of 3.36 positive emotions per day, compared with an average of 3.08 among those who never attended or those who attended occasionally.

Fifty-five percent of all Americans reported experiencing all four positive emotions at least once in any given day of the week, 4 percent experienced none of the positive emotions and about 5 percent experienced only one of the four positive emotions the prior day.

Not only do Americans who attend a church, synagogue or mosque frequently report having higher well-being in general, they also get an extra boost to their emotional state on Sundays -- while the rest of Americans experience a decline in mood.

The survey has a margin of error of 1 percentage point.

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