Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP, Chair, Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Yuma Tomes, PhD, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Diane Smallwood, PsyD

Third Advisor

Timothy Ring, EdD


Research indicates that religion has played a vital role in the founding of the American nation as well as the American education system. However, over the years, religion has been taken from the educational realm and is no longer considered an important variable in impacting educational outcomes. This study examined the National Study of Youth & Religion dataset to further explore what was the most important component of religiosity (religious cognitive beliefs, emotional attachment, or behavioral commitment) in impacting academic and behavioral success. This study found that religious cognitive beliefs (belief in God and belief in moral absolutes) did not have a significant relationship with academic outcomes, but were significantly correlated with behavioral outcomes.
Emotional attachment and the frequency of attending religious services, prayer, and scripture reading were all also found to be significantly correlated with academic and behavioral outcomes. Religious attendance was found to be the most powerful predictor of academic grades, and emotional attachment and scripture reading were found to be the most powerful predictors of overall behavioral self-regulation. Also, many group differences were found in terms of religious affiliation. This study is important for education and has many implications for schools because prayer, scripture reading, and moral absolutes have been taken out of education. Children are being kept from knowing, developing a relationship with, and following God, which this study supports
has the potential to impact self-regulation and, ultimately, educational outcomes.