Spiritual Practices and Dispositional Optimism in an Underprivileged Population

Produced by: 
Munich Personal RePEc Archive
Available from: 
February 2018
Paper author(s): 
Alejandro Cid
Gonzalo Arrieta
Maria Mercedes Ponce de Leon
Demographic Economics - Migration

Optimism seems to foster the ability to manage adverse situations better - a finding especially relevant for disadvantaged populations. Employing a unique sample from a small underprivileged village, we study the association between spiritual practices and dispositional optimism. The village belongs to a developing country that is, by far, the most secular country in Latin America: this makes particularly interesting exploring the role of spiritual practices in this context. We find that spiritual practices are positively associated with higher optimism, measured by the Life Orientation Test-Revised (LOT-R): those who practice spirituality, score, on average, 14.4 percentage points higher on the LOT-R than those who do not. And this association seems to be especially robust in the case of the poor and less educated: those with spiritual practices score 20 percentage points higher on the LOT-R. Thus, the role that spiritual practices may play in dispositional optimism in disadvantaged populations deserves more attention.


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