A study by a University of Akron sociologist finds that religion contributes to a happy life, a comfortable marriage and a positive outlook on personal health.

Based on a survey of 560 Akron residents, sociologist Margaret Po-loma said simply feeling close to God is more important to overall happiness than church attendance, denominational affiliation or specific religious creed.She says the indications are that the frequency of prayer does not directly relate to a sense of well-being, but the type of prayer does.

"Those who use a conversational type of prayer are more likely to feel good about their lives than those who limit themselves to reciting memorized prayers," she says.