People Happiest When They Feel Like They ‘Belong’ to a Country

Katie Silver, Daily Mail (London), December 13, 2011

Feeling proud to be British makes you feel good about life in general, according to scientists.

They found that the kind of pride that makes people happiest is when they feel they ‘belong’ to a country, regardless of ethnicity.

Researchers studied interviews of 41,000 residents of 31 European nations and found civic pride was most linked to a general feeling of well being.

This is often because those who felt a country’s laws, traditions and institutions made them feel they belonged often had a better quality of life overall.

The study was conducted jointly by political scientists and sociologists at Washington’s American University and Belgium’s Catholic University.

They found the links between national pride and happiness were high across Europe.

But they were highest where a person felt the country in which they lived contributed to their overall lifestyle rather than their own ethnic background.

National pride–where a person declares, for instance, that they are proud to be a German, or a Brit or a Spaniard–led to an increase in overall happiness.

But the increases were greater among those who expressed a civic pride–defined as a respect for the way their country is run which defines their everyday lives.

Matthew Wright, of American University and Tim Reeskens of Catholic University, said it was more than pure flag waving patriotism that made people happy.

The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, said: ‘Civic nationalism is more inclusive, requiring respect for a country’s institutions and laws for belonging.

‘Unlike ethnic nationalism, that view is open to minorities or immigrants, at least in principle.’

It added: ‘More 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.’

Matthew Wright said: ‘You have to look at how people define their pride.

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  • Question Diversity

    To me, it’s not a question of either ethnic or civic nationalism. I think they both go together, and combine together to be something that neither one by itself could ever be. Also, I think the more you have of one, the more you’re going to get of the other.

    Related news:

    http://goo.gl/Li1Ww

  • Anonymous

    “The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, said: ‘Civic nationalism is more inclusive, requiring respect for a country’s institutions and laws for belonging.

    ‘Unlike ethnic nationalism, that view is open to minorities or immigrants, at least in principle.”

    How I love this small minded liberal researchers. Yes “in principle.” But ethnic homogenity leads to greater civic nationalism. Less minorities, people feel more connected to country. Beacause people like them make population.

  • Anonymous

    Its called belonging. Belonging to a community, a culture, a nation and a piece of land that is your groups and your groups alone. Where you don’t have to bowl alone. Where you can just be yourselves and not worry about the world. It was the norm until the liberal internationalists decided to dismantle the white western nation-state after WW2 and substitute a multicultural (really a CULTURELESS) hybrid monstrousity in its place to serve their own narrow interests.

  • Anonymous

    I felt that I belonged in my country for the first 20 years of my life. I have felt like I was in a foreign country for the last 32 years.

  • Anonymous

    I am an American born in 1952. I have not felt that I really was in the same country for at least the last 40 years, but I began to feel the alienation in the 1960s, and from all sides.

    The U.S. is the first multicultural nation by intention and a complete failure. Other empires that were similar and also failed were the Roman Empire, The Habsburg Empire, The British Empire, The French Empire, The Spanish Empire, The Portuguese Empire, The Netherlands Empire, (colonist empires), The USSR and the previous Russian Empire, etc. There has never been a successful forced amalgamation of contrasting cultures, and even similar ones (European nations for example) have difficulties. The U.S. has forced nearly 200 language types into its borders. Its descent to failure is palpable. All of the other Western nations that have sought to copy the U.S. imagining it would bring what they think so many immigrants did to enrich the U.S. economy will and are failing as well.

  • Anonymous

    The “us/them” sense is so basic to our (successfully ) evolved

    natures that it is a sign of the collective media trance madness of our society that a sense of nationalism would seem unnatural.

    It is also a little bit looney to get attached to a nationalism

    other than one’s own. That’s a little like deciding your own well tailored clothing should be discarded so you can wear the clothes of someone much different from yourself in physique.

  • The Great Unwashed

    People happiest when they feel they “Belong” to a country. DUH!

    Fluff.

  • Anonymous

    #5 “The US is the first multi-cultural nation…” I assume

    this reference is to contemporary realities? Aside from the

    importation of African slaves and some selective mixing with

    those who were here 1492 ff., there’s been basic bio-social

    homogenity to the formation and consolidation of what emerged as

    the USA.

  • Anonymous

    It is worth contemplating what tradition, on the one hand, and

    contemporary evolutionary psychology research, on the other, would reveal about a sense of belonging being very akin to the ownership and occupancy of physical property–even “land” as small as an urban residential lot. It is hard to get an image of human evolution without sensing that over eons, the sense of belonging was territorial in terms of occupancy and in terms of being able to make hamburger out of those who might wish to push you off of what you claimed. The agricultural revolution, then , makes occupancy a more specific and deeper sense than just the physically secure capacity to roam around in a larger territory. More and more people packed into the sardine “existence” of so much of the contemporary American city have

    no roots for sustaining such a sense of belonging. High tech

    barbarism.

  • Nick

    I think part of the reason (just part) why Islamic countries are so intolerable is because inhabitants have no allegiance to them.

    They are only loyal to their religion or their “culture”.

  • Anonymous

    ref. 10

    This is a good observation. Disparate factions have to be

    forcefully wedged together to make a contrived “whole”. This is

    apparently what the former Iraq dictator, Saddam, claimed he HAD

    to do. ?? We want Iraq to hold together but on a gentle democratic

    basis . Hopefully it’s possible. But who wants to place a bet on it right now ?? Time will soon tell.

  • Periapsis

    Poster #10 has it right, any country where the inhabitants allegiance is to a totalitarian, genocidal and political religion is a living hell, even for them.

  • Anonymous

    4 — Anonymous wrote at 7:01 PM on December 13:

    I felt that I belonged in my country for the first 20 years of my life. I have felt like I was in a foreign country for the last 32 years.

    ———————————–

    I know how you feel. I felt like this was my (White) country up until about the time (1970’s and 80’s where I live) I noticed more and more Mexicans, the integration of the blacks, the Hmongs (east Asians), and all the rest of the foreigners we now have.

    I have actually come to detest the America of today that we are now forced to live in. I weep and long for the America I grew up in.

    Myself and even my grown children now have to keep moving to get away from the growing neighborhoods that now have turned black and brown. They are everywhere. Crime is everywhere. Gangs are everywhere. We can’t afford to live in the White middle class areas, which are now becoming less and less, thanks to the growing minority populations and their offspring spreading into all areas with their section 8 vouchers or their drug money.