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Harvard Study: Church attendance as a child has positive influence on a person in their 20s


Regular church attendance has positive impact on children in their 20s. Photo: Evergreen Church, Evergreen, Colorado, USA Credit: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

Regular church attendance as a child has positive impact on people when they are in their 20s. Photo: Evergreen Church, Evergreen, Colorado, USA Credit: Kent Kanouse/Flickr/Creative Commons

According to a study at Harvard University, children who attended church at least once a week while they were growing up reported having better lives in their 20s than those who didn’t.

The study conducted by researchers from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health sampled data provided in the Growing Up Today Study that was part of the Nurses’ Health Study II. This study followed children in their early teens for upwards of 14 years. The sampling sizes were not insignificant and ranged in size between 5,700 and 7,500 people.

The researchers were trying to find out if “religious involvement” as a child that included church attendance, prayer and meditation had any impact on a person’s physical, emotional and mental well-being later in life.

The results published in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed the positive influences that faith has on children, years later.

Compared to those who didn’t, the study found that children who attended church at least once a week reported in their 20s as being:

  • 18% happier;
  • 30% more likely to do volunteer work; and
  • 33% less likely to use drugs.

They also found that children who voluntarily participated in prayer and mediation growing up, also showed better results in their 20s than those who didn’t in following areas:

  • They were less likely to have sexually transmitted diseases and participate in early sex;
  • They were more forgiving;
  • They showed more emotional stability; and
  • They reported having more life satisfaction than those who didn’t

Watching your children grow up and begin their own independent journey can be a tough time for parents. However, it is important that we continue to pray and believe for them.

I also appreciate how this study looked at the impact that faith had on children when they were in their 20s, because it is important that we take a long- term perspective on this. A verse in Proverbs also encourages us to take a longer-term perspective on child rearing:

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 NKV)

Continue to pray and believe.

Sources:

 

 

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