Initially threatened by change, people adapt to societal diversity over time

ScienceDaily | 5/23/2019 | Staff
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Those insecurities are unwarranted, however. With time, people can adapt to societal diversity and actually benefit from it, according to a study led by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Oxford and recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Those in power especially set the tone for integrating people into a new society.

"If you give people who are different from you half a chance, they will integrate into society pretty well. It is when you purposefully push them out, or erect barriers against them, that problems are introduced," said Douglas Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "It's important for our political leaders to set the right tone, so proper integration can occur."

Research - Team - Years - Data - Waves

The research team examined 22 years of psychological, sociological, and demographic data from multiple waves of the World Values Survey, the European Social Survey, and the Latino Barometer Survey. Together the three datasets included more than 338,000 respondents interviewed in more than 100 countries.

The investigators combined various measures of life satisfaction, happiness, and health to create a "quality of life index" for respondents to each survey. Then, they examined the association between this index and religious diversity. Unlike ethnicity and race, which aren't always collected in surveys and are often measured using divergent categories, religion is well recorded using comparable categories. "Religion is a convenient way to look at the issue of social diversity," Massey said.

Researchers - Effects - Diversity - Quality - Life

The researchers analyzed the short-term effects of religious diversity on quality of life as perceived by individuals at different points in time, but also assessed the long-term effects of diversity on quality of life in different countries over longer spans of time. Although religious diversity was negatively associated with quality of life among...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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