Religious Communities and Human Flourishing

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Religious Communities and Human Flourishing

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Title: Religious Communities and Human Flourishing
Author: VanderWeele, Tyler J.
Citation: VanderWeele, Tyler J. 2017. “Religious Communities and Human Flourishing.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 26 (5): 476-481. doi:10.1177/0963721417721526.
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Abstract: Participation in religious services is associated with numerous aspects of human flourishing, including happiness and life satisfaction, mental and physical health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue, and close social relationships. Evidence for the effects of religious communities on these flourishing outcomes now comes from rigorous longitudinal study designs with extensive confounding control. The associations with flourishing are much stronger for communal religious participation than for spiritual-religious identity or for private practices. While the social support is an important mechanism relating religion to health, this only explains a small portion of the associations. Numerous other mechanisms appear to be operative as well. It may be the confluence of the religious values and practices, reinforced by social ties and norms, that give religious communities their powerful effects on so many aspects of human flourishing.
Published Version: doi:10.1177/0963721417721526
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