People who have a "secure attachment" to God are more likely to be satisfied with and committed to their jobs, a new study claims.
The study, published as “Attachment to God, Vocational Calling and Worker Contentment," was conducted by a Baylor University doctoral candidate with the help of a pair of sociology professors.
The authors used data from the Baylor Religion Study, which the university calls "the most extensive and sensitive study of religion ever conducted into American religious attitudes, behaviors and beliefs." The data was gathered by questioning 860 adults who said they believe in God or a higher power. It did not include a control group of non-believers or nontheists.
Among the religious respondents who participated in the survey, researchers placed them into three categories.
“There’s secure attachment, where he’s warm and close,” said Blake Kent, the study's primary author. “There’s insecure attachment, where you feel distant from God. There’s anxious attachment, where sometimes you think he’s real to you and sometimes he’s not.”
Those who reported a warm, secure attachment to God said they were more satisfied with their jobs than respondents in the other two groups, the researchers said.
“These findings suggest that individuals who are securely attached to God tend to feel like their jobs and places of work are a manifestation of their connection with God, which subsequently leads to higher levels of emotional attachment to their jobs,” said Matt Bradshaw, a sociology professor at Baylor.
The authors suggested that, instead of shying away from allowing their employees to express their religious feelings at work, employers could reap benefits from encouraging expressions of faith. Sociology professor Kevin Dougherty said even small steps — like granting employees 15 minutes of meditation time per day — could help improve job satisfaction.
Some companies already provide break time and non-denominational prayer rooms for employees, and U.S. employers with large numbers of Muslim workers allow time for Salah, the practice of praying five times daily while facing Mecca.
Citing Pew Research polls on religion and studies about prayer in the workplace, Psychology Today says prayer can help offset stress and make it easier for people to trust each other. Prayer can also help increase self-control and reduce aggression, the report said.
“Religion matters for work,” Dougherty said. “To ignore this fact is to ignore a powerful motivation driving the attitudes and actions of many Americans.”