Worship has a positive impact on teenagers, according to a study that tries to determine religion's role in adolescents' lives.
A survey of thousands of 12th-graders nationwide has found that teens who attend worship and rate religion as important have positive self-images, are optimistic, and enjoy school.
"The more religious the kids are, based on its importance to them or their attending worship, the greater their positive outlook on life," said sociologist Chris Smith of the University of North Carolina, where the National Study of Youth and Religion is being conducted. "They have more self-esteem and confidence. The more religious they are, the less they hate school."
The second part of a four-year project, the study required the teens to respond to questions about their attitudes concerning themselves, school and the future.
Released in December, the survey found 31 percent of students attended religious services weekly, and 30 percent said religion was important to them. In both cases, these teens were "significantly more likely" than nonattending or nonreligious youth to enjoy life, feel they have useful lives, and hope for the future and have a sense of pride and satisfaction.