The researchers found that allowing stores to open on Sundays was linked with a decline in church attendance among white women, which led to a subsequent decline in happiness. Among black women, the repeal of the blue laws had no measurable effect, although that may be because the sample size was too small to draw any statistically meaningful conclusions.

Notably, the finding was true only for women. For men, the repeal of blue laws didn’t seem to influence church attendance or levels of happiness…

So why would Sunday shopping make women less happy? Part of the reason may be that some of the women were required to work on Sundays after the repeal of blue laws. “People don’t like to work on Sundays,’’ Dr. Sander said.