Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: Religiosity, Emotion Regulation and Well-Being in a Jewish and Christian Sample

Allon Vishkin*, Pazit Ben-Nun Bloom, Maya Tamir

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

People who are more religious tend to experience more positive affect and higher levels of life satisfaction. Current explanations for this relation include social support, meaning in life, and more positive emotional experiences. Adding cognitive reappraisal as a new mechanism, we propose that religion consistently trains people to reappraise emotional events, making the devout more effective in applying this emotion regulation practice, which cultivates more positive affect and greater life satisfaction. In two studies, involving Israeli Jewish (N = 288) and American Christian (N = 277) participants, we found that more frequent use of cognitive reappraisal mediated the relationship between religiosity and affective experiences, which in turn, were associated with greater life satisfaction. Religiosity was associated with more frequent cognitive reappraisal (in both samples) and less frequent expressive suppression (in the Christian sample). Cognitive reappraisal mediated the link between religiosity and positive affect (in both samples) as well as negative affect (in the Christian sample). We discuss implications for understanding the link between religion and emotional well-being.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)427-447
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Happiness Studies
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Emotion regulation
  • Life satisfaction
  • Religion
  • Well-being

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