Relationships between Religion, Collectivism, Individualism and Satisfaction with Life
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Abstract Religious belief and socio-cultural perspectives of Collectivism and Individualism are influential aspects of our perception of the world. Research has considered differences across groups, cultures and nations. Objectives: This study looks at whether there is a relationship between religion and Collectivism on the individual level. It further looks at correlations of Collectivism with satisfaction with life. Methods: A sample of 109 participants consisting of students and their friends completed an online questionnaire comprised of the Auckland Individualism-Collectivism Scale (AICS) to measure Collectivism and Individualism and the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Participants were grouped according to their identification as religious or non-religious. The quantitative data was complemented by interviews with religious representatives (Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant and Quaker) and a Humanist. A focus group discussion was conducted to capture the perception of student members of different faith communities (Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Muslim and Christian). Results: The data show that a) religious participants score higher on Collectivism as well as Individualism compared to non-religious participants and b) participants scoring high on Collectivism report greater satisfaction with life. Collectivism did not act as a mediator between religion and satisfaction with life. Conclusions: The paper emphasises the advantage of a Collectivist perspective as it encourages sharing and investing in a supportive social network. This has been found to benefit physical and mental health.