A new study published earlier this month in the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that a religious upbringing positively correlates with an individual's happiness.
The study, conducted by Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, found that those raised with religious practices have better physical and mental health as they age, and have a lower risk of depression, tobacco use, STDs, and substance abuse.
The study, which followed participants for 8-14 years, included 5,000 people. Children and teens who attended prayer services with their parents at least once a week were 29% more likely to volunteer, and 33% less likely to use drugs in their 20s.
Those who prayed or meditated daily were 30% less likely to engage in promiscuity at a young age and 40% less likely to have an STD. They were also 16% more likely to report being happier in their 20s. These adults were also better able to process emotions, forgive, and be satisfied with their lives.
Study author Ying Chen said, "These findings are important for both our understanding of health and our understanding of parenting practices. Many children are raised religiously, and our study shows that this can powerfully affect their health behaviors, mental health, and overall happiness and well-being."