Re­li­gious up­bring­ing linked to well- be­ing in adult­hood

The Asian Age - - Science+ Health -

Wash­ing­ton, Sept. 15: Turns out, par­tic­i­pat­ing in spir­i­tual prac­tices dur­ing child­hood and ado­les­cence may lead to pos­i­tive health and well- be­ing out­comes in early adult­hood.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­search, peo­ple who at­tended weekly re­li­gious ser­vices or prac­ticed daily prayer or med­i­ta­tion in their youth re­ported greater life sat­is­fac­tion and pos­i­tiv­ity in their 20s. The study noted that these peo­ple were less likely to sub­se­quently have de­pres­sive symp­toms, smoke, use il­licit drugs, or have a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tion than peo­ple raised with less reg­u­lar spir­i­tual habits.

Ying Chen, first au­thor of the study sug­gested that "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."

For this study an­a­lyzed health data from moth­ers in the Nurses' Health Study II ( NHSII) and their chil­dren in the Grow­ing Up To­day Study ( GUTS). The re­searchers con­trolled for many vari­ables such as ma­ter­nal health, so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, and history of sub­stance abuse or de­pres­sive symp­toms, to try to iso­late the ef­fect of re­li­gious up­bring­ing.

The re­sults showed that peo­ple who at­tended re­li­gious ser­vices at least weekly in child­hood and ado­les­cence were ap­prox­i­mately 18% more likely to re­port higher hap­pi­ness as young adults ( ages 2330) than those who never at­tended ser­vices. They were also 29% more likely to vol­un­teer in their com­mu­ni­ties and 33% less likely to use il­licit drugs.

Those who prayed or med­i­tated daily while grow­ing up were 16% more likely to re­port higher hap­pi­ness as young adults, 30% less likely to have started hav­ing sex at a young age, and 40% less likely to have a sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tion com­pared to those who never prayed or med­i­tated.

"While de­ci­sions about re­li­gion are not shaped prin­ci­pally by health, for ado­les­cents who al­ready hold re­li­gious be­liefs, en­cour­ag­ing ser­vice at­ten­dance and pri­vate prac­tices may be mean­ing­ful av­enues to pro­tect against some of the dan­gers of ado­les­cence, in­clud­ing de­pres­sion, sub­stance abuse, and risk tak­ing.

In ad­di­tion, these prac­tices may positively con­trib­ute to hap­pi­ness, vol­un­teer­ing, a greater sense of mis­sion and pur­pose, and to for­give­ness," said Van­der Weele, one of the re­searchers. — ANI

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