Washington: Women in the United States generally derive more happiness from religious participation than from shopping on Sundays, says a new study.
The research by a Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) researcher, together with a researcher from De-Paul University, also reveals that when Sunday blue laws are repealed, women who choose secular activities, such as shopping, are not happier.
The repeal of blue laws decreases the relative probability of being at least "pretty happy" relative to "not happy" by about 17 percent.
According to Dr Danny Cohen-Zada of BGU`s Department of Economics, "We found that there is direct evidence that religious participation has a positive causal effect on a person`s happiness. Furthermore, an important part of the decline in women``s happiness during the last three decades can be explained by decline in religious participation."
The authors speculate that respondents did not return to attending church as much even after they noticed that they were happier before the repeal because of a problem of self-control or the need for immediate satisfaction.
"People choose shopping, like watching TV, because it provides immediate satisfaction," Dr. Cohen-Zada explains.
"That satisfaction lasts for the moment it``s being consumed and not much longer than that. Religious participation, on the other hand, is not immediate. Instead, it requires persistence over a period of time."
The researchers analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS). They selected respondents who either live in states where there was a distinct, clear and significant change (repeal) in the prohibition of retail activity on Sundays (10 states) or where there was no change at all (six states).