Study Finds Religion Helps Socially Disconnected People Find ‘Greater Purpose’ in Life

Being religious can help socially disconnected individuals find purpose when lacking relationships, according to a recent study.

Research published in the Journal of Personality last month found that “religious beliefs can compensate for the purpose in life that social relationships would otherwise provide.”

Researchers analyzed three studies on whose data included over 19,000 respondents, which found that socially disconnected people who were religious compensated for their lack of social ties through faith because their beliefs provided “greater purpose to turn to” and “divine figures that can substitute for social relationships.”

“Consistent with our hypotheses, religious beliefs were of minimal influence on purpose in life for socially connected individuals, who already held higher levels of purpose than socially disconnected individuals,” noted the study’s results.

“However, for socially disconnected individuals, being highly religious predicted higher levels of purpose in life.”

Researchers concluded that their findings indicated that while “people primarily derive purpose from social relationships, socially disconnected individuals may leverage their religious beliefs for purpose and social comfort until they can reconnect.”

Todd Chan, a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Michigan and one of the study’s authors, told in an interview last week that religious beliefs “may benefit people who are disconnected over time.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski