If you want to boost your teenager's grade point average, take the kid to church. Or, a new study suggests, find some similar social activity to involve them in. Researchers found that church attendance has as much effect on a teen's GPA as whether the parents earned a college degree. Students in grades 7 to 12 who went to church weekly also had lower dropout rates and felt more a part of their schools.
On average, students whose parents received a four-year college degree average a GPA .12 higher than those whose parents completed high school only. Students who attend religious services weekly average a GPA .144 higher than those who never attend services, said Jennifer Glanville, a sociologist at the University of Iowa. The study does not suggest God is smiling on the students, per se. Rather, it identifies several reasons the students do better:
- They have regular contact with adults from various generations who serve as role models.
- Their parents are more likely to communicate with their friends' parents.
- They develop friendships with peers who have similar norms and values.
- They're more likely to participate in extracurricular activities.
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