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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: Religious Practice Makes a Difference
In the most comprehensive systematic reviews of the field of study of the effects of religious practice, 81% of the studies showed the positive effects of religious practice, 15% showed neutral effects and only 4% show harmful effects. Remarkably, these harmful effects involved practices, which the religion itself identified as being unhealthy.[1]

The evidence show that people who more frequently attend Church are:

More likely to be Less likely to be
  • Married
  • Have a higher level of
    marital satisfaction
  • Have a higher level of
    sexual satisfaction
  • Have a larger family
  • Move out of poverty
  • Have personal moral
    criteria & judgment
  • Single
  • Divorced
  • Fewer children
  • Dysfunctional behavior
  • e.g. Suicide
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Crime
  • Out of wedlock births

Some conclusions from this research are:
  • The more frequency in religious practice & Church attendance the more likely married, have a higher level of marital & sexual satisfaction, have a larger family, move out of poverty and have personal moral criteria and judgment. They are less likely to be divorced and have dysfunctional behavior.
  • Use of contraception was responsible for 50% of the increase in divorce.
  • Cohabitation increases the likelihood of divorce by 50-100%.
  • Teenagers who worship weekly and whose friends are not sexually active: 97 percent of these teenagers are likely to be virgins. Clearly, friends and worship are powerful influences on sexual experiences.
  • A girl who has a close relationship with her father is more likely to maintain her virginity for a longer period of time.
  • When both mother and father worship, children show the greatest capacity to maintain their virginity (76%).
  • The earlier a girl has her first sexual encounter, the more sexual partners she is likely to have, the more susceptible she is to contract a sexually transmitted disease, and the more likely she is to become a single mother.
  • Divorce is followed by increases in the rates of juvenile crime, abuse and neglect, and addiction, diminished learning capacities and less high school and college degree attainment.
[1] Fagan, Patrick R., Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice on Social Stability, Heritage Foundation, Cf., Backgrounder No. 1064, January 25, 1996.