Thursday, December 15, 2011

Feeling good about our country leads to happiness

Jack Dikian
December 2011

Research in the past has shown that when we feel good about our country we also feel good about our own life.

In Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, Tim Reeskens from Catholic University in Belgium and Matthew Wright from American University looked at national pride (a proxy for feeling good about our country) from two perspectives; "Ethnic" nationalism and "Civic" nationalism.

"Ethnic" nationalism is typically expressed in racial or religious terms while "Civic" nationalism is more inclusive, requiring only respect for a country's institutions and laws for belonging, and in theory open to minorities or and immigrants.

The researchers analyzed the responses to four key questions by 40,677 individuals from 31 countries, drawn from the 2008 wave of the cross-national European Values Study.

Reeskens and Wright report that national pride correlated with greater personal well-being. But the civic nationalists were on the whole happier, and even the proudest ethnic nationalists' well-being barely surpassed that of people with the lowest level of civic pride.

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