Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 271–288 | Cite as

A Data Mining and Data Visualization Approach to Examine the Interrelationships Between Life Satisfaction, Secularization and Religiosity

  • Chong Ho YuEmail author
  • Hailey Trier
  • Maryann Slama
Original Paper


Previous studies have suggested a positive relationship between secularization and happiness, as well as a geographical, cultural and development pattern, primarily based on data gathered in Europe and the USA. To gain a more holistic view on the interrelationships between secularization, religiosity and subjective perception of well-being, this study utilized the Wave 6 archival data set (2010–2014) of World Values Survey, which contains 74,042 observations from 60 countries. In this study, the rating of satisfaction with life was treated as the dependent variable. Four secular value indices and 12 variables related to religiosity were extracted from the data set for predictive analysis. Data mining tools, such as the partition tree and bootstrap forest approaches, suggested that only secular values were influential. Specifically, secular values had a negative relationship with satisfaction. In addition, hierarchical clustering based on secularization and satisfaction did not suggest a meaningful pattern. For example, the dendrogram showed that South Korea, Lebanon, Estonia and Algeria were grouped together. This implies that secularization and satisfaction could vary from country to country, regardless of their geographical location, culture and development status. Specifically, countries that are similar in terms of satisfaction and secularization are not necessarily culturally similar or geographically clustered. This discourages the idea that these factors (e.g., location, development status, culture) play a role in mediating the relationship between secularization and religiosity. By directly contradicting previous work showing a pattern based on Europe and the USA, this finding challenges the existing understanding of the relationship between these factors. By expanding the scope of study to the whole world, the current analysis suggested that the existing view regarding the positive relationship between secularization and well-being might be oversimplified.


Secularization Religiosity Well-being Data mining Big data analytics Happiness Mental health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors did not receive any funding for this project, and thus, we declare that we have no conflict of interest with any party.

Ethical Approval

This article is based on archival data and does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAzusa Pacific UniversityAzusaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOxford UniversityOxfordEngland
  3. 3.Program of Industrial and Organizational PsychologySt. Mary’s UniversityHalifaxCanada

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