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UK News

Study suggests people with religion coped better during Covid pandemic

by Tola Mbakwe

A new study has suggested that those with a religion coped with the coronavirus pandemic better than those who didn't. 

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge found that unhappiness was 29 per cent lower for people with a faith in the UK. 

They used data, which includes self-reports on religion and religiosity taken before the pandemic and mental health data on unhappiness and depression before and after lockdowns. 

Economist at the University of Cambridge, Prof Shaun Larcom, told Premier: "What we found is that there was an increase in unhappiness or depression for both groups [religious and non-religious] during the lockdown, which is obviously understandable, but the increase for religious people was less than that for non-religious people. It was about a third lower."

He added that factors contributing to this are that people with a religion have "better social networks" that help in times of need. 

"Religious beliefs might be able to be a sort of a stress buffer in themselves or bring hope or consolation or meaning in times of difficulty and adversity," Larcom explained. 

The degree to which a person practised their faith also played a factor in the results, with those whose faith made a big difference in their lives being less unhappy than those who were more nominal in their faith.
The study stated that there wasn't much difference in coping across religions. 

However, it found that due to places of worship being closed during lockdown, Muslims and Catholics "suffered disproportionately" because the religions "normally require weekly communal attendance from their followers".

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