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Teens Who Attend Religious Services Stay In School Longer

November 2, 2012, 10:30 AM

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

By studying data from almost 8,400 teens across the United States, sociologists from Brigham Young and Rice universities concluded that young people who attend religious services regularly are 40 percent more likely to graduate high school and 70 percent more likely to attend college than their non-worshipping peers. Of those, Jewish and Mormon youth have the highest chances of completing high school and entering college. Compared to unaffiliated teens, those who attend Catholic and Protestant services are "twice as likely...to finish high school and about 80 percent more likely to enroll in college."

What's the Big Idea?

Many faiths encourage young people to achieve in school as a part of becoming contributing members of their communities. Also, the study noted that having a religious mentor -- an adult member of the congregation who is not related -- had the same effect on teens as an educational mentor. Lead study author Lance Erickson says, "Youth have a unique chance to form relationships with peers and mentors outside of their classroom at school or their neighborhood at home...Mentors especially care for, counsel with and encourage youth throughout their growing years in a way that teachers and parents might not be able to."

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