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How Buddhism impacts happiness: psychological mechanisms explaining Buddhism's effect on subjective well-being
Severin, M. (2019). How Buddhism impacts happiness: psychological mechanisms explaining Buddhism's effect on subjective well-being. MA Thesis. Université Catholique de Louvain, Faculté de Psychologie et des Sciences de l'Education: Louvain-la-Neuve. 63 pp.

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Document type: Dissertation

Author keywords
    religion; Buddhism; subjective well-being; meaning in life; social support; humor

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Abstract
    The field of research on religion and well-being is predominantly focused on the three monotheistic religions, thereby omitting Buddhism. The current study aims to investigate the relationship between Buddhist religiosity and subjective well-being (SWB), by determining which factors possibly mediate this relationship. A survey measuring Buddhist religiosity, six potential mediators (cognitive, emotional, and social), and SWB was given to a sample of 124 Thai Buddhists, living in Thailand. Results showed that presence of meaning in life and social support, which are factors commonly found in other religions, but also humor coping style, which seems specific to Buddhist attitudes, significantly mediated between Buddhist religiosity and SWB. Buddhist religiosity was also correlated with higher compassion and lower intolerance of contradiction, but these factors were not significant mediators. The ideal affect of low-arousal positive emotions was included as well and was correlated with SWB but not with Buddhist religiosity. The study demonstrates the similarities in the function of religion for Thai Buddhists, but also opens the possibility for several culturally specific mediators, such as an apparent unique use of coping with humor.

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