For this study from Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, researchers gathered data from 5,000 people to see whether or not the frequency with which a child attended religious services or practiced religion (with their parents or on their own) was directly related to their mental health capacity as they grew into their 20s. Young people were followed up with for up to 14 years.
Researchers concluded that those who attended services once a week as young people were about 18% more likely to report happiness in their 20s. They were 30% more likely to do volunteer work and 33% less likely to use drugs.
On top of this, those who practiced religion (prayer and meditation) daily had more satisfaction in life. It was easier for these individuals to process emotions, and were also less likely to have sex at an early age.
Ying Chen, author of this specific study, shared, “These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health and overall happiness and well-being.”