The significance of motivational regulations of religious behavior in a traditional Catholic society: A cross-national comparison between Poland and Belgium
Earlier research showed a more autonomous regulation of religious behaviors to be positively related to well-being and to a more flexible, symbolic adherence to Catholic belief contents. This research aimed to examine whether these relations hold up in a more traditional Catholic society (i.e., Poland) in comparison to these with a more secularized society (i.e., Belgium). Because of its stronger Catholic tradition Polish (N = 259), relative to Belgian participants (N = 127), were expected to score higher on a literal approach of religious contents and a controlled regulation of religious behavior. In spite of these between-country mean level differences, based on self-determination theory, structural relations between motivational regulations and well-being and approaches towards religious contents were predicted to be cross-culturally invariant. Findings showed Polish participants to score higher on introjected regulation, inclusion of transcendence and a literal religious approach. Controlled regulations of religious behavior were positively related to a literal approach and negatively to well-being and empathy, whereas an autonomous regulation showed the opposite pattern of results. Importantly, this pattern was found to generally hold in both countries, as only one interaction emerged, that is, an externally pressured regulation of religious behaviors was more strongly negatively predictive of religious adherence in Poland than in Belgium.
Neyrinck, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., Soenens, B., Duriez, B., & Uchnast, Z. (2008). The significance of motivational regulations of religious behavior in a traditional Catholic society: A cross-national comparison between Poland and Belgium. KULeuven: Internal report.