Researchers found that church attendance has as much effect on a teen's GPA as whether the parents earned a college degree. Students in grades 7 to 12 who went to church weekly also had lower dropout rates and felt more a part of their schools.
..... Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA .144 higher than those who never attend services, said Jennifer Glanville, a sociologist at the University of Iowa.
The study.....identifies several reasons the students do better:
* They have regular contact with adults from various generations who serve as role models.
* Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends' parents.
* They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values.
* They're more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.
The study author also asked teens how important religion was to them and then looked for correlations. Interestingly, it didn't matter whether the teens believed or were inspired by their religion. It all boiled down to sitting in the pews: the social process of religion--"all" here meaning the effect on GPA. (They did not look to correlate "mean girls", cliques, smoking in the bathroom, or any of those negatives of teen behavior with church-going. ;-)
"Surprisingly, the importance of religion to teens had very little impact on their educational outcomes," Glanville said. "That suggests that the act of attending church -- the structure and the social aspects associated with it -- could be more important to educational outcomes than the actual religion."
Religious-service attendance had the same effect across all major denominations, the researchers found. The results are detailed in the winter 2008 issue of the Sociological Quarterly.