Tuesday 20 August 2019

Life is grand - but social media is replacing religion

'A third admits to some form of addiction to digital media, with the highest followers among women and young people'. Stock photo
'A third admits to some form of addiction to digital media, with the highest followers among women and young people'. Stock photo
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Only one in three adults in Ireland now regards themselves as religious - with social media emerging as our new addiction, a national survey has revealed.

But on balance we are a happy nation and most of us describe ourselves as "grand".

However, four in 10 of us are bad sleepers, the findings of the well-being survey conducted by Amarach showed.

The traditional support of religious faith has waned, particularly among people in their 20s and 30s, and only 5pc now describe themselves as very devout.

But a third admits to some form of addiction to digital media, with the highest followers among women and young people.

This may potentially make negative emotions worse in some people.

The survey, carried out last month, found that nearly four in 10 people say they feel anxious, sad or tired "often or frequently" for no reason.

We are a happy nation, scoring an average of five on a scale of one to seven for happiness. Key sources of happiness are a sense of autonomy, sleeping well, being able to use imagination creatively to solve problems and a healthy level of attention from others.

Anxiety and sadness triggers can include lack of control, poor sleep, a lack of perceived meaning or purpose, and negative thoughts.

The research provides a snapshot of the degree to which various psychological needs are currently being met in the Irish adult population.

A number of patterns emerge: men tend to score higher than women in terms of having their psychological needs met; women score higher in "giving attention".

Older people tend to score higher than younger people, "reflecting perhaps life-stage differences, but maybe also generational differences due to different values, use of social media," said the report.

The report, which was independently commissioned by Amarach itself and was not sponsored, provides a "toe in the water" when it comes to measuring and analysing psychological needs, resources and mental health.

The methodology was based on the Human Givens approach, which aims to provide a holistic, scientific framework for understanding the way individuals and society work.

The authors pointed out that there is growing debate about what happiness is, how to measure it and what depression is.

"We have only skimmed the surface of a growing literature on the issues," the report pointed out.

Irish Independent

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