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Religion 'strong pillar' of self-esteem

Religious involvement is the best indicator of psychological self-esteem among 14 year olds, an assessment of a national survey in the US has found.

The joint team from Louisiana State University and Wells College in upstate New York that conducted the assessment presented its findings on Friday at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in San Francisco.

The researchers used the results of Monitoring the Future, a continuing Study of American Youth, done in 1999 by the University of Michigan's Survey Research Centre. The survey was given to 1261 14 year olds from different parts of the United States -- 570 males and 691 females.

Team member Rebecca Nolan said: "We found that people who rated themselves as being 'very religious' answered each of the four positive indicators of self-esteem in a more positive manner," Nolan said. This means they feel that they are persons of worth who can do things as well as others and that they are satisfied with themselves.

Correspondingly, the 'very religious' did not subscribe to the negative indicators of self-esteem.

"The eight grade is a pivotal period," the psychologist said. "Students are right at the point where their self-esteem tends to be lower than at any other time. They're going through a lot of changes. They've reached the age where their peers are starting to matter more than family.