Children and Religion
By Kim Roberts
In an article originally published last October, a Harvard study found that children who were exposed to religion as they were growing up were more likely to be healthier and have a higher degree of well-being as young adults, when compared to those that do not.
I found it interesting, though I already believed this – the study showed a direct link between religious upbringing and better physical and mental health in young adults.
I know I am preaching to the choir about the importance of exposing children to religion on a regular basis, but knowing that a formal study was conducted and discovered that people who attended religious services weekly or who practiced prayer daily in their youth reported having a higher life satisfaction and positivity in their 20s.
Most Catholic parents know how important it is to make sure their children attend Mass and pray. This reaffirmation is a bonus.
It is interesting that this study followed 5,000 young people for as many as eight to 14 years, allowing for variables such as maternal health, socioeconomic status and histories of substance abuse or symptoms of depression.
Results show that those who went to religious services at least once a week as children were about 18% more likely to report higher levels of happiness as young adults between the ages of 23 and 30 than those who didn’t. They were also shown to be 29% more likely to volunteer in their local communities and 33% less likely to engage in the use of illicit drugs.
Further proof that being a practicing Catholic as a child gives young adults spiritual strengths that lead to healthy habits, builds their social networks and also renders the ability to overcome obstacles in their lives all while building a solid relationship with God.