دین و رفاه ذهنی در میان افراد سالمند در چین
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|34556||2009||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||8829 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 38, Issue 2, March 2009, Pages 310–319
Evidence from developed and developing countries alike demonstrates a strongly positive relationship between religiosity and happiness, particularly for women and particularly among the elderly. Using survey data from the oldest old in China, we find a strong negative relationship between religious participation and subjective well-being in a rich multivariate logistic framework that controls for demographics, health and disabilities, living arrangements, wealth and income, lifestyle and social networks, and location. In contrast to other studies, we also find that religion has a larger effect on subjective well-being on men than women.
Since Easterlin's (1974) pioneering analysis of the interplay between aggregate economic growth and the average subjective well-being of a country's citizens, economists have embraced subjective well-being as an important economic outcome and proxy for individual utility. One prominent line of research has shown that aggregate data on happiness may be used to inform macroeconomic policy. For example, Di Tella et al. (2001) use data from a dozen European countries to infer each country's subjective preferences for the trade-off between unemployment and inflation. Helliwell (2006) estimates the social valuation of good and transparent governance, economic stability, and the rule of law. Alesina et al. (2005) and Gruber and Mullainathan (2002) assess the effect of labor market regulation and cigarette taxes, respectively, on collective well-being. At the disaggregated level, economists have long held that revealed preference more accurately represents true well-being than subjective states of mind, yet deducing changes in happiness from observed behavior is often difficult in practice. Although care must be taken in the use and interpretation of subjective data,1Lelkes (2006) and Frey and Stutzer (2002a) note that measures of subjective well-being are reliable measures of “experienced utility,” and the use of subjective data on well-being has recently been embraced by economists. A popular line of empirical inquiry in the recent research on individual-level well-being has been identifying the determinants of happiness among various population groups. Large-scale surveys conducted in the United States,2 the European Union,3 and 81 countries from across the socioeconomic spectrum4 demonstrate a considerable degree of consensus: regardless of survey location, robust indicators of subjective well-being include relative income, health status, the strength of social networks, the happiness of friends and relatives, and recent changes in income, marital status, or social networks (Frey and Stutzer, 2002b). Notably, men and women are equally likely to report high-levels of happiness or life satisfaction according to surveys of 170,000 adults in 16 countries (Inglehart, 1990) as well as to a meta-analysis of 146 studies (Haring et al., 1984). Because faith communities provide social support for their members and encourage hope in the face of vulnerability (Ellison et al., 1989), because religiously-active individuals tend to rebound from divorce, unemployment, illness, and bereavement more quickly and more fully (Ellison, 1991), and because religion may foster higher expected utility in the afterlife (Azzi and Ehrenberg, 1975), participation in religious activities may also influence subjective well-being. The preponderance of evidence is overwhelming. For example, Myers (2000) uses a survey of 35,000 American adults to show a monotonic positive relationship between the frequency of attendance at religious services and subjective well-being. Gruber (2005) finds that the effect on self-reported well-being of moving from never attending religious services to attending weekly is comparable to the effect of moving from the bottom income quartile to the top quartile. Swinyard et al. (2001) find that religious participation is among the most deterministic predictors of subjective well-being in Singapore.5 Indeed, Witter et al. (1985) conduct a meta-analysis of 28 previous studies to find that religious belief and religious participation account for between 2% and 6% of the variation in adult subjective well-being. There is nevertheless some controversy about the interplay of religion and gender in subjective well-being: although Moberg (1965) proposes that religion is a less important determinant of well-being among men than women because of its less central role in the life of men, Witter et al. (1985) find no evidence to support this position. Inasmuch as religion serves as a “coping mechanism” for elderly people (Cox and Hammonds, 1988) and because religious capital may accumulate across the lifetime (Iannoccone, 1990), religious participation is likely to be particularly important in subjective well-being among the aged. Again, the empirical evidence overwhelmingly supports this conjecture. For example, Blazer and Palmore (1976) and Guy (1982) use longitudinal data to demonstrate that the importance of religion in self-reported well-being increases over the life span. In Japan, religious participation among elderly populations leads to higher subjective well-being (Krause, 2003). Indeed, Okun and Stock (1987) conclude that religion is among the two most important positive influences on subjective well-being (the other being health) in their meta-analysis of the determinants of healthy aging. While the majority of studies report positive relationships, at least two examples of religiosity negatively influencing subjective well-being have nevertheless been described. First, Gee and Veevers (1990) use data for 6500 Canadians to demonstrate a positive correlation between religious involvement and satisfaction with life. Within the subpopulation of adult men in British Columbia, however, 48.7% of religiously “unaffiliated” survey respondents report being “very satisfied” with life, whereas only 38.3% of “actively affiliated” survey respondents report such high levels of satisfaction. Second, Willits and Crider (1988) find that religiosity is positively associated with overall life satisfaction among middle-aged Pennsylvanians. Among men, however, the frequency of church attendance negatively impacts marital satisfaction. Unfortunately, neither study controls for health, demographics, lifestyle, and other correlates of well-being that may bias the estimates. Finally, as we describe below, religious participation and subjective well-being may be negatively related in the presence of widespread religious persecution. This paper analyzes the influence of religiosity on subjective well-being among Chinese octogenarians, nonagenarians, and centenarians using a robust multivariate framework that controls for demographics, health and disabilities, living arrangements, wealth and income, lifestyle and social networks, and location. Given the evidence from previous studies, including evidence from countries that share religious traditions with China, we expected to find a positive relationship between religious participation and satisfaction with life; however, we find a robustly negative relationship. Moreover, we find that religious participation has a stronger influence on men's well-being than on women's well-being. To our knowledge, this is the first study to uncover such relationships for a large sample while controlling for such a large number of correlates of religiosity. We interpret this finding to be indirect evidence of vulnerability associated with religious persecution, although we cannot test for persecution directly. Section 2 provides an overview of religion and religious participation in China. Section 3 provides a brief theoretical model. Section 4 describes the data and provides summary statistics for the main variables of interest. Section 5 discusses the empirical specification and identification issues. Section 6 presents the empirical results. Section 7 concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Studies undertaken around the world repeatedly point to the robustly positive relationship between religiosity and subjective well-being. These results have been shown to hold among elderly populations, including those in East Asia. In fact, only a few studies demonstrate negative relationships between religion and well-being, and neither of those of which we are aware account for likely sources of bias by controlling for correlates of religion such as health and lifestyle. By contrast, we provide evidence that religious participation has a negative effect on subjective well-being among elderly Chinese through simple correlations as well as within the context of a richly-specified maximum-likelihood model. Although we cannot fully rule out systematic reporting error, simultaneity bias, or omitted variable bias, we believe that remaining endogeneity bias is likely to be slight, especially given that the point estimates are very similar with and without our control variables. We find that the odds of respondents who participate in religious activities reporting that their lives are currently “good” or “very good” are approximately 0.85, a difference that is both economically and statistically significant. Generally speaking, our results show that religious participation is more important than education, limitations in activities of daily living, frequent visits by non-resident children, and private sources of income in determining life satisfaction. Religious participation is approximately as important as most lifestyle variables in determining well-being, but less important than debilitating diseases, cognitive functioning, living arrangements, and wealth. Except for the negative effect of religiosity, this pattern is similar to that described by Witter et al. (1985). In addition, we find that the effect of religious participation is greater in magnitude for men than for women: male participants in religious activities have lower odds of reporting satisfaction with life (with odds ratios of approximately 0.068) than female participants (with odds ratios of approximately 0.87). Importantly, all of our results hold in both logistic and ordered logistic analysis, underscoring the robustness of the findings. Although Document 19 nominally protects participation in the five state-sanctioned religions, government interference in sanctioned religious practice has included moderate forms of control (e.g., regulating religious activity and appointing church leaders) as well as overt displays of intolerance (e.g., demolishing important religious sites and subjecting practitioners to arrest and reeducation); punishment for members of home churches and other unsanctioned organizations have often been severe. If persecution or the fear thereof impacts the elderly survey respondents included in this study, then the negative relationship between religious participation and subjective well-being are easily explained. Unfortunately, the data used in this study do not include any information regarding the extent of religious persecution (if any) experienced by survey respondents. However, even if the survey respondents are untouched by contemporary persecution, di rigeur religious persecution during the Cultural Revolution may continue to affect life satisfaction if adaptation to such shocks is partial. Moreover, contemporary accounts of the Cultural Revolution suggests that maltreatment at the hands of the Red Guards was commensurate with religious activity ( FitzGerald, 1967). The loosely-defined measure of religious participation does not allow us to determine whether adherents of different religions are more or less happy, nor whether the type and intensity of religious activity impacts subjective well-being. Together with religious persecution, these remain important areas for future research, particularly in the Chinese context.