New Academic Study: Mormon Teens Cope Best

A major new study from the University of North Carolina finds that of all religious group surveyed, Mormons best handle the challenges of adolescence. Here is an excerpt from the story, “Mormon Teens Cope Best,” at

A groundbreaking study of American teenagers and religion conducted at UNC-Chapel Hill finds that of all the religious groups surveyed, Mormons fared best at avoiding risky behaviors, doing well in school and having a positive attitude about the future. Conservative Protestants came in second.

The study, a four-year effort, included telephone interviews with 3,370 randomly selected U.S. teenagers ages 13 to 17, followed by face-to-face interviews with a subset of 267.

The result, called the National Study of Youth and Religion, is a massive compilation of data on Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and religiously unaffiliated teenagers. The study was led by UNC sociologist Christian Smith and financed with $4 million from the Lilly Endowment.

Smith reports the results in a book just published with Melinda Lundquist Denton titled “Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers,” (Oxford University Press).

He found that most American youths believe in God and expect to continue in the religious traditions of their parents. Roughly two-thirds of teenagers are involved in religious activities, and 69 percent are now or previously have been involved with a religious youth group.

But while teenagers who are religiously involved fared well overall, the 2.5 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Mormon fared best when it came to traversing the choppy waters of adolescence.

“Across almost every category we looked at, there was a clear pattern: Mormons were first,” said Steve Vaisey, one of the researchers involved in the study and the person who interviewed most of the Mormon youths.

And early morning seminary may be part of the answer!

Way to go, Latter-day Saint teens!

Thanks to Walter Reade for sending me e-mail about this story.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

7 thoughts on “New Academic Study: Mormon Teens Cope Best

  1. The sad thing about that same article is that such a small number of the LDS teens said they believe in God (barely over 2/3 of them!)

  2. hey jeff, what can you tell me about the church’s teachings on the rapture? it doesn’t seem to be mentioned anywhere on your web page, but i know it’s a big part of protestant theology.

  3. The Rapture is not a part of LDS theology and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not Protestant 🙂

    We do have doctrine relating to the second coming of Jesus Christ, but it does not include many of the concepts related to the Rapture.


  4. Eighty-four percent of the LDS teens surveyed said they believed in God, so about one in six don’t (or presumably aren’t sure). Given that roughly half of LDS teens aren’t in active LDS families, it’s not surprising that many aren’t sure about God. And even some of those that are active might not yet have much of a personal testimony yet and may wonder. I wish that all LDS people had stronger testimonies and more vibrant faith, but the statistics from this study still look pretty positive.

    As for the rapture, that’s a good point. I’ll add something. Churches that teach the popular but man-made rapture concept are definitely a cult – using the basic dictionary definition (cult = “a system or community of religious worship and ritual”) – and people need to know this.

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