Christians in Eastern Europe are unhappier compared to Catholics and Protestants, research reveals

Christians who live in Eastern Europe are said to be unhappier and less satisfied with their lives than other Christians in the rest of the world, according to a research from the World Bank.

(Wikimedia Commons/Gastroscan)A procession in the village of Gora with the Russian Orthodox Old Rite Church.

The researchers noted, in a policy paper released by the World Bank's Office of the Chief Economist, that a 30 percent gap exists between the happiness index of Eastern European Orthodox countries compared to other Christians, such as Catholics and Protestants.

The experts also learned that Eastern Orthodox believers ascribe to old left-leaning ideologies and the culture of collectivism, as well as prefer less social engagements. Eastern Europeans also want the government's involvement that study authors noted this might explain why communism still has strong support in the region.

The study took points from an earlier working paper conducted in 2015. The researchers asked more than 400,000 individuals to participate in a global survey, where initial findings revealed that Christians from Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine scored low under life satisfaction compared to Christians from Bangladesh, India and Senegal.

Experts also took different variables into consideration in comparing the data. Aside from religious beliefs, the study looked into the respondents' age, income, marital status and social status.

"The purpose of this paper is to try to figure out why are different countries on different paths," University College London's Elena Nikolova told reporters. "We argue that some of these elements of Orthodoxy that were different as compared to Protestantism were in fact very convenient for communist elites and they nurtured those aspects that were useful for them, such as the emphasis on not questioning authorities," she added.

Nikolova also said that studying a population's religious beliefs helps shed light on its development and trajectory. She underscored that a government that wants to promote democracy or world peace need to recognize these religious leanings to understand why a certain ideology might not work in other countries.