Most boys at Christian schools say no to sex 

By Dominic Hayes Education Correspondent, Evening Standard    --   25 May 2005

A Christian education makes teenage boys less permissive, according to research out today.

Boys at private Anglican and Catholic schools are more likely to oppose sex before marriage and be less tolerant of pornography.

They are also less likely to feel depressed or consider suicide, according to a survey of 13,000 teenagers by Professor Leslie J Francis from the University of Wales, Bangor.

Church schools, state and private, have a good reputation among parents for providing a strong moral education and high academic standards.

Catholic and Church of England schools in London are frequently the most over-subscribed.

Professor Francis questioned boys aged between 13 and 15 at a number of non-denominational comprehensives and independent Christian secondary schools.

He found that 62 per cent of those educated at Christian private schools claimed to believe that pornography was too widely available. Only four in 10 boys at other schools agreed.While only 13 per

cent of boys at nondenominational schools were against sex outside marriage, the proportion jumped to 64 per cent among their Christian-educated peers.

Three quarters of Christian pupils said it was wrong to have sex before the legal age of consent at 16, compared with 29 per cent of other teenagers.

And 73 per cent of the Christians interviewed said abortion was always wrong, compared with 39 per cent of their peers.

Professor Francis, whose research is published in the British Journal of Religious Education, also found that Christian school pupils appeared to have a more optimistic outlook on life.

Teenage boys and men in their early twenties are recognised as being two of the groups most at risk of developing mental illnesses such as depression.

While 30 per cent of boys educated in secular schools said they had considered suicide, the figure at Christian schools was 20 per cent. Some 60 per cent of the nondenominational school pupils said they "often" felt depressed. The same was true of about half of the Christian-educated pupils.

Professor Francis said further study would show if the boys retained their views as adults.

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