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Spiritual Practices and Dispositional Optimism in an Underprivileged Population

Cid, Alejandro and Arrieta, Gonzalo and Ponce De León, María Mercedes and Stokes, Charles E. (2017): Spiritual Practices and Dispositional Optimism in an Underprivileged Population.

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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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