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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 202134 Find in a Library
Title: Making the Grade: The Influence of Religion Upon the Academic Performance of Youth in Disadvantaged Communities
Author(s): Mark D. Regnerus Ph.D.
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Ctr for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Sale Source: Ctr for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society
Leadership Hall
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Survey
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Drawing from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examined the role of churches in helping socioeconomically disadvantaged youth stay in school.
Abstract: Children who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods characterized by poverty and social ills enjoy less of the advantages of American life than children who live in advantaged neighborhoods characterized by wealth and strong social networks. Despite overwhelming disadvantages, studies have indicated that many at-risk youth do well in society, graduate from high-school, and find meaningful employment. The question is, why do some of these at-risk children do so well? This study sought to uncover the contribution that religion and neighborhood churches play in influencing at-risk youth to stay in school. Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health survey that collected information from adolescents in grades 7 through 12 beginning in 1994. Variables under consideration included school performance, neighborhood-level measures of poverty, religious involvement, and risk and protective factors gleaned from demographic information. Results of statistical analyses revealed that attending church influenced youth to stay in school. An interesting finding was that religious involvement had more of a positive impact on youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods than it had on youth in more affluent neighborhoods. Finally, another important finding indicated that church involvement not only influenced youth to stay in school, it actually benefited their academic performance. In conclusion, the author posits that church involvement may benefit at-risk youth more than affluent youth because churches provide a functional community for at-risk youth within their dysfunctional environment, providing much needed social support and regulation. As such, neighborhood churches in disadvantaged neighborhoods offer a means of social control in areas that are known for their lack of social controls. Figures, appendix, notes
Main Term(s): Adolescents at risk; Religion
Index Term(s): Educational benefits; School dropouts; Socioeconomic causes of delinquency
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