Study finds that boys who live out a strong faith in God also achieve academic success
While it’s typically just Christian boys from middle-class families who earn better grades, the findings also included girls.
“Religious girls from working-class families also see educational benefits compared with less religious girls, but there are other factors that help them be academically successful outside of religion,” Horwitz explained. “Girls are socialized to be conscientious and compliant, have an easier time developing social ties with family members and peers, and are less prone to get caught up in risky behaviors.”
“I find that Abiders report the highest GPAs while Avoiders [those who believe in God but avoid any personal action] report the lowest GPAs, even after controlling for a host of background factors and behaviors. Furthermore, middle-class students benefit the most from being religiously engaged.”
Other factors such as race, class, and gender are all significantly associated with grades. “Net of all other factors, Abiders have an average GPA of 3.21, compared with 2.92 for Avoiders,” reports Horwitz.
Horwitz reported, “Among those raised in the working class, 21% of religious teenagers brought home report cards filled with A’s, compared with 9% of their less-religious peers.”
“I find that the effect of religiosity has the greatest effect on middle-class adolescents whose families earn between $40,000 and $90,000. This pattern holds even after controlling for race, gender, age, mother’s education level, and religious denomination.”
Horwitz further explains, “the students who benefit most from religious social capital are those who have the basic resources to function in school, but lack the advantages of affluent families.”
Many affluent families have greater access to programs and resources which propel their child’s success. These resources remain out of reach for lower-income families.
In her study, Horwitz described interview responses from dozens of students. Many boys shared a common hopelessness—whether economic, relational, or global. She concluded that “dozens of other boys in the study had a support system that insulated them from the hopelessness so many of their peers described.”