The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Children Benefit From Intact Families that Worship Weekly

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CHARLESTON – A new study released Tuesday by the Family Policy Council of West Virginia finds that children have fewer problems at school and home when they live with both biological parents and frequently attend religious services.  Drs. Nicholas Zill and Philip Fletcher co-authored the new study which analyzes data from the National Survey of Children’s Health.

“This study reminds us that the government should promote and encourage strong families,” said Jeremy Dys of the Family Policy Council of West Virginia.  “It is a reminder that the family ought to be the first priority for our leaders, not an afterthought.  Good policies start at home and in church, influencing government.  Bad policies start in government and seep into the home.”

Zill is the founding president of Child Trends and the former vice president of Westat.  Fletcher is a research psychologist at Westat.

Among their remarkable findings:  children in this group are five times less likely to repeat a grade, less likely to have behavioral problems at home and school, and are more likely to be cooperative and understanding of others’ feelings.  Parents of these children report less stress, healthier parent-child relationships, and fewer concerns about their children’s achievement. These differences hold up even after controlling for family income and poverty, low parental education levels, and race and ethnicity.

Dr. Pat Fagan, senior fellow and the director of Family Research Council’s Center for Family and Religion, commented on the study’s findings in a statement:

“Social science data continue to demonstrate overwhelmingly that the intact family that worships weekly is the greatest generator of human goods and social benefits and is the core strength of the United States.  Policy makers should strongly consider whether their policy proposals give support to such a family structure.  Children are not the only beneficiaries but also their parents, families, communities, and all of society.”

A copy of the study is available for download at

The Family Policy Council of West Virginia is a servant organization that advocates for policies that embrace the sanctity of human life, enrich marriage, and safeguard religious freedom.

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Written by Jeremy Dys

December 16, 2008 at 5:36 pm

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