The religiosity-as-social-value hypothesis posits that the psychological benefits of religiosity (benefits to social self-esteem and psychological adjustment) are culturally specific: They should be stronger in countries that tend to value religiosity more. Data from more than 180,000 individuals across 11 countries were consistent with this prediction.
Overall, believers claimed greater social self-esteem and psychological adjustment than nonbelievers did. However, culture qualified this effect. Believers enjoyed psychological benefits in countries that tended to value religiosity, but did not differ from nonbelievers in countries that did not tend to value religiosity. Replication of this pattern with non-self-report data would be desirable. Regardless, the results suggest that religiosity, albeit a potent force, confers benefits by riding on cultural values.