Religious high schoolers more optimistic, have better self-esteem

High school seniors who consider themselves religious have significantly higher self-esteem and hold more positive attitudes about life than do their less religious peers, a new study shows. The research, part of the larger National Study of Youth and Religion, revealed a statistical association between religion and higher self-esteem among 12th-graders who went to religious services at least once a week or who professed deeply held spiritual views. “This was contrary to the belief held by some people that religion is associated with psychological neurosis or dysfunction,” said the study’s lead author. “These findings seem to suggest the opposite — that religion is associated with a constructive outlook.”