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"Pursuing science can aid mental health which consists in the use of reason or the use of judgment."
-Fr. Chad Ripperger
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Research: Education & School Performance
Analysts at The Heritage Foundation looked at data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, the federal government's largest research project looking into how teenagers fare on a host of issues. The findings on the average overall grade point average (GPA) of American teenagers in math, English, social studies, and science in 1995, out of a maximum possible score of 4.0, are shown by family structure in the chart below.[1] These GPAs are 2.98 for teenagers who have intact married parents; for those who live with cohabiting adults, 2.79; with stepparents, 2.71; with always-single parents, 2.68; and with divorced single parents, 2.64.

Graph showing the relationship between Virginity & Sexual Activity

A slightly different picture of how teenagers from different family structures behave in school emerges when we look at children who are expelled from school. Teenagers with different family backgrounds are expelled at different rates:
  • Of teenagers who live with their still-married mothers and fathers, 2% are expelled
  • Of those living with parents who cohabit, 7%
  • Of those living with stepparents, 7%
  • Of those living with divorced single parents, 7%
  • Of those living with an always-single parent, 9%
These differences in school performance and behaviors carry over into adulthood in how these children handle positions of responsibility in the marketplace and how much they earn.

[1]Nation Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, 1995, NIH.