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What Difference Does Youth Group Make? A Longitudinal Analysis of Religious Youth Group Participation Outcomes

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Though many congregations structure youth ministry programs to foster desired religious and social outcomes, questions remain regarding whether participation in religious-based youth programs is beneficial for the youth involved. Studies show that religion typically results in positive life outcomes for youth, but less is known about the causal mechanisms through which religion makes a difference in their lives. Data analyzed are from two waves of the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR). This article examines the effect of youth participation on adult support, church connections, and moral values. A multivariate analysis with lagged dependent variables indicates some effects of youth group participation as well as self-selection processes.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for the Study of Religion and Society University of Notre Dame

Publication date: September 1, 2009


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