The Relations among Religiosity, Subjective Well-being, and Attitudes towards Science

Document Type: Original Article


Assistant Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Institute for Research and Development in the Humanities (SAMT)



Research in three last decades has linked religiosity with health and Subjective Well-Being (SWB), suggesting that religion leads to physical and mental health. Recently, it has been shown that science can often do the same. This study aims to investigate the relationship of religiosity and attitudes towards science to SWB. Two hundred and eighteen university students and 122 seminary school students were selected through non-random, convenience sampling and filled out the following scales: Scientific Attitude Assessment scale (SAAS), Spirituality Self-Rating Scale (SSRS), Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS), and Subjective Happiness Scale (SHS). Results showed that religiosity was positively correlated with happiness and life satisfaction. Religious people reported more positive attitudes towards science, showing that at the personal level they do not see much of a conflict between their religion and contemporary science. Life satisfaction and happiness were also positively associated with positive attitudes towards science. While seminary school students reported higher levels of religiosity, university students reported higher scores on extrinsic attitudes towards science but not intrinsic attitudes. These results demonstrated the positive links between religiosity and attitudes towards science, suggesting that both religion and science can contribute to SWB.


1. DeNeve MN, & Cooper H. The happy personality: A metaanalysis
of 137 personality traits and subjective well-being.
Psychological Bulletin. 1998; 124(2), 197–229.
2. Lucas RE & Diener E. Personality and subjective well-being. In
O.P. John, R.W. Robins, & L.A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of
personality: Theory and research (3rd ed, pp. 795-814). New
York: The Guilford Press. 2008.
3. Francis LJ & Lester D. Religion, personality and happiness.
Journal of Contemporary Religion. 1997; 12(1), 81–86.
4. Diener E, Tay L, & Myers DG. The religion paradox: If religion
makes people happy, why are so many dropping out? Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology. 2011; 101(6), 1278–1290.
5. Lyubomirsky S, King L, & Diener E. The benefits of frequent
positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological
Bulletin, 2005; 131(6), 803–855.
6. Emmons RA, Barrett JL, & Schnitker SA. Personality and the
capacity for religious and spiritual experience. In O.P. John,
R.W. Robins, & L.A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality:
Theory and research (3rd ed, pp. 634-653). New York: The
Guilford Press. 2008.
7. Alavi HR. Correlatives of happiness in the university students of
Iran (a religious approach). Journal of Religion and Health. 2007;
46, 480–499.
8. Aghababaei N. Scientific faith and positive psychological
functioning. Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 2016; 19(7),
9. Gonce LO. Reasoning and recall in scientific and religious
contexts. Unpublished PhD dissertation. Bowling Green State
University. 2007.
10. Simon RM. Gender differences in knowledge and attitude
towards biotechnology. Public Understanding of Science. 2010;
19(6), 642–653.
11. Pardo R, & Calvo F. Attitudes toward science among the
European public: A methodological analysis. Public
Understanding of Science. 2002; 11, 155–195.
12. Kim-Prieto C, & Diener E. Religion as a source of variation in
the experience of positive and negative emotions. The Journal of
Positive Psychology. 2009; 4(6), 447–460.
13. Hayes BC, & Tariq VN. Gender differences in scientific
knowledge and attitudes toward science: A comparative study of
four Anglo-American nations. Public Understanding of Science.
2000; 9, 433–447.
69 Int J Behav Sci Vol.12, No.2, Summer 2018
14. Aghababaei N, Sohrabi F, Eskandari H, Borjali A, Farrokhi N,
& Chen ZJ. Predicting subjective well-being by religious and
scientific attitudes with hope, purpose in life, and death anxiety
as mediators. Personality and Individual Differences. 2016; 90,
15. Ghorbani N, Watson PJ, Aghababaei N, & Chen Z.
Transliminality and mystical experience: Common thread
hypothesis, religious commitment, and psychological adjustment
in Iran. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. 2014; 6(4), 268–
16. Gorsuch RL, & McPherson SE. Intrinsic/extrinsic measurement:
I/E-revised and single-item scales. Journal for the Scientific
Study of Religion. 1989; 28(3), 348–354.
17. Allport GW, & Ross M. Personal religious orientation and
prejudice. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1967;
5(4), 432–443.
18. Galanter M, Dermatis H, Bunt G, Williams C, Trujillo M, &
Steinke P. Assessment of spirituality and its relevance to
addiction treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
2007; 33, 257-264.
19. Aghababaei N, Wasserman JA, & Nannini D. The religious
person revisited: Cross-cultural evidence from the HEXACO
model of personality structure. Mental Health, Religion &
Culture. 2014; 17(1), 24-29.
20. Diener E, Emmons RA, Larsen RJ, & Griffin S. The Satisfaction
with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment. 1985; 49(1),
21. Clench-Aas J, Nes RB, Dalgard OS, & Aarø LE. Dimensionality
and measurement invariance in the Satisfaction with Life Scale
in Norway. Quality of Life Research. 2011; 20, 1307–1317.
22. Lyubomirsky S, & Lepper, HS. A measure of subjective
happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation.
Social Indicators Research. 1999; 46(2), 137–156.
23. Russell CA. The conflict of science and religion. In G. B.
Ferngren (Ed.), The history of science and religion in the western
tradition: An encyclopedia (pp. 12-17). New York: Garland
Publishing, Inc. 2000.
24. Bedau HA. Complementarity and the relation between science
and religion. Zygon. 1974; 9(3), 202-224.