The weekly peak of mood has fascinated academics and the mass public alike. However, this phenomenon has not been explored from a global perspective. By analyzing large-scale cross-national survey data collected from the Global Attitude Survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2014–2015, this paper offers cross-national evidence focusing on reporting a good or bad day across 46 countries. It was found that daily moods show a clear weekly cycle of feeling a “good day” (versus “ordinary” or “bad” day), but whether one is having a “best possible life”, a cognitive evaluation of life conditions this study uses, does not vary over the week. Religion appears to be a key explanatory factor. While Christians are not more likely to report a “good mood” than Muslims or those identifying with other religions, they appear to enjoy a “best possible life”, implying stronger influences by their distinctive worldview and sense of comfort. Also, the percentage of Christians in the whole population constitutes a very important structural context, such that in Christian-majority countries, Saturday and Sunday generated more good day reports than elsewhere. Muslim societies produce a very delightful context on Fridays. Other social structural conditions such as national wealth or income distribution generate mixed evidence. Policy implications are discussed in the conclusion.
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Surveys were conducted via telephone or face-to-face interviews; in some countries both methods were mixed. Telephone interviews were conducted mainly in N. America, W. Europe, Australia and Japan. The random-digit dialing method was adopted in these areas for both cell and landline phones. In Czech and South Korea, where cell phones are extremely popular (prevalence rate is over 90%), interviews were conducted through cells to solicit answers from a large pool of registered candidates for the survey. Direct interviews were applied in Latin America, E. Europe, Africa and most of Asia, with a multi-stage, cluster design.
For more details of the field report from each participating country, see http://www.pewresearch.org/methodology/international-survey-research/survey-mode-and-sample-design. Either with or without the Ukrainian respondents, the obtained findings are largely the same. They therefore are included in the following analyses.
The ICC is the ratio of the between-cluster variance to the total variance. For categorical results, it is calculated in a slightly different way from that for continuous outcome variables by assuming the variance of residuals to be π2/3 = 3.29. See O’Connell, Goldstein, Rogers and Peng (2008, p. 220).
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I am grateful to the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University for providing research infrastructure and support while I was a visiting scholar and preparing the manuscript of this paper in the second half of 2017.
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Tsai, MC. The Good, the Bad, and the Ordinary: The Day-of-the-Week Effect on Mood Across the Globe. J Happiness Stud 20, 2101–2124 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-018-0035-7
- Day-of-the-week effect
- Comparative research