Today, let us examine an exciting new study from Teleios. We surveyed students at the University of Georgia regarding their wellbeing and factors that influence it. In total, 247 students participated. An infographic of the survey can be found on the Teleios website (http://teleiosresearch.com/index.php/new-research-atheism-religion-and-wellbeing-in-college-students). The full report has been submitted for publication to a scientific journal.
Similar to our previous survey conducted at this same university (internal data, Teleios), all groups in the new survey reported generally good wellbeing. In the current survey the evangelical group had the highest ratings for wellbeing. They also had a greater sense of purpose. Further, evangelicals who were more adherent to their faith (e.g., religious activity, Bible study, prayer, praise, and teaching) showed better wellbeing than non-adherent evangelicals.
Although practices generally considered healthy were chosen by all groups as important for enhancing wellbeing (including: good health, university coursework, family and friends, a love interest, and career goals), evangelicals more often depended on their relationship with God and family as well as community service for improving wellbeing.
Fortunately, among all groups, only a low minority of respondents were dependent upon drugs/alcohol, social media or sexual relations for good wellbeing. Interestingly, evangelicals who indicated they did not have good wellbeing (13%) were more likely to depend on sexual relations or drugs/alcohol (54% of this group) for attaining good wellbeing than evangelicals noting good wellbeing (17% depending on sexual relations or drugs/alcohol).
Among atheists/agnostics, 40% noted they had strong feelings of guilt. Unlike evangelicals, we could not identify a subset of habits that predicted good wellbeing in the atheists/agnostics group. This group was less likely to demonstrate their beliefs through discussions, action or monetary giving. They more often expressed a desire for social activism and a one world government as a source of hope.
Students’ beliefs regarding entry into heaven varied markedly between religious groups with 80% of evangelicals and 60% of Catholics believing they would be admitted to heaven by faith in Jesus Christ. In contrast, half of the atheists/agnostics group indicated there was no heaven, but the rest were unsure or thought they would be admitted through works or grace.
This new study shows that college students mostly demonstrate good wellbeing, with evangelicals reporting the highest levels. Overall, wellbeing and hope generally come from maintaining good health, relationships with family and friends as well as career pursuits; evangelicals especially are distinctive in their relationship with God through grace.
Although, more work is needed to understand wellbeing among university students, this latest survey adds to the growing body of evidence of the advantages of Christianity to providing good wellbeing through salvation by grace and wise daily living.
Wow, as Christians we have a great Savior and a fantastic true resource in the Scriptures!
Thanks again for reading my blog. Join me again next week as we discuss more exciting Teleios research.
1. MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, & Stewart WC. Association of strength of community service to personal well-being. Community Ment Health J 2014;50:577-582. doi.org/10.1007/s10597-013-9660-0
2. MacIlvaine WR, Nelson LA, Stewart JA, & Stewart WC. Association of strength of religious adherence to quality of life measures. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2013;19:251-255. doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.05.001
3. Rizvi MA, Hossain MZ. Relationship between religious belief and happiness: A systematic literature review. J Relig Health 2016 Dec 1. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1007/s10943-016-0332-6
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