Why feeling like we matter matters : mattering as a social resource for health, resilience, and emotional well-being.
The feeling that we matter to others is a core ingredient to people’s well-being and mental health. Despite its roots in early social theory and its crucial implications for well-being, the concept of “mattering” has received fairly little attention in contemporary sociological research. After a review of the theoretical roots of mattering and the state of the current literature on the topic, this text dives into an exploration of how mattering connects to three different areas relevant for sociologists. Using data from the 2021 Baylor Religion Survey, a national sample of US adults, I first examine how mattering is connected to physical health with an emphasis on its interaction with gender. Next, I explore how a sense of mattering may have impacted the emotional responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Third, I analyze how different facets of prayer impact a person’s sense of mattering. I end with a reflection on the results of these three studies and directions for future research.