Date of Conferral







Carolyn G. King


Increasing stress levels over the past 30 years have reached an all-time high, which has also correlated with an increase in medical insurance costs due to the adverse effects on life expectancy, obesity rates, and non-communicable disease deaths. An additional social problem affecting the U.S. is a 20-year increase in political dichotomy. Research has shown a distinction between liberals and conservatives on a variety of characteristics ranging from sleep patterns, disgust, personality, and even cleanliness. This current study used two other characteristics that correlate with both stress and political orientation, and they are happiness and religiosity. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between perceived stress, happiness, religiosity, and political orientation. Two theories chosen for this study included System Justification Theory (SJT) and Moral Foundations Theory (MFT). Both theories relate to the differences between liberals and conservatives on happiness, religion, and morality. This study had 201 participants recruited via Amazon's MTurk and used a hierarchical multiple regression model, which includes the following psychometric instruments: Perceived Stress Scale-10, Subjective Happiness Scale, Satisfaction With Life Scale, Religious Orientation Scale (Intrinsic and Extrinsic), and the Modified Wilson-Patterson Inventory. There was a significant effect found between intrinsic religiosity and conservative political orientation. In assisting social and behavioral scientists at better understanding stress differences and how humans cope in unique ways, positive social change is made possible by mitigating stress levels and therefore decreasing healthcare costs.