Thestudy was anchored on the social theory perspective of Functionalism accordingto Durkheim (1912). This theory described the origin of religion and itscorrelation to other factors in the society affecting an individual. Heasserted that religion worked as a functional element affecting pro-socialgoals such as education, and he stressed out the important role of religion insupporting the values and norms of the society (Johnstone,2001). He explained that religion had four social functions, however, thisstudy utilized only two of its functions: disciplinary and preparatoryfunction, and the establishment of social well-being. First, it performs adisciplinary and preparatory function which pertain to the religious ritualsand beliefs observed by the members of the society that constructself-discipline necessary for social life. In doing so, they incorporateconstraints, controls and boundaries in their behavior which affect theireducation since the latter needs perseverance and discipline to succeed. Ifreligion was able to inculcate virtues such as: patience and self-control; aperson, in ipso facto, was presumed to perform well in academics.
The secondfunction concerned itself on the establishment of the social well-being of anindividual. This entails that religion aids individuals in depressing and bleaktimes as attending in religious services has the possibility to bring order anddirection into a person’s life where there could be confusion and dysfunction (Durkheim, 1912). The self-determination theorysupported the functionalist theory of Durkheim, as it posited that there werereasons that propel an individual to an action (Lealet.al., 2013).
The theory focused on intrinsic motivation which referredto motivations arising from the internalization of behaviours or goalsconstructing the interest of an individual to actualize the behaviour orcomplete the task (Deci and Ryan, 1985).This was related to the anchored theory since if positive virtues or values ofreligion regarding education was reinforced and internalized by an individual,it can contribute greatly to his academic performance, as behaviours that canelicit a negative impact on education were controlled by the person himself (Regnerus et.al., 2003). Moreover, the coping theory alsosupported the anchored theory as it postulated that people utilized religiousbeliefs and behaviours to lessen the feeling of stress of an individual (Pargament, 1997).
This was becausereligion was perceived as a protective factor which can provide comfort andsupport (Culey, 2014).This was connected to Durkheim’s ideas as the second function of religion,establishment of social well-being, allows an individual to cope up withdepression and other factors affecting academic performance through turning toreligion for guidance and support. Hence, coping incorporated the religiousbeliefs of a person when limits of human capability were perceived (Harrison et.al., 2001). The said theories relate to thestudy as religion provided the values and norms an individual was expected toexemplify.
The level of adherence to it can enable him to internalize suchvalues and teachings which make him avoid behaviours that have negativeimplications to academic performance and, consequently lead him to positivesocial directions (Muller and Ellison, 2001).Moreover, as an individual is more involved religiously it can develop hissocial well-being and cope up with the different factors that affect one’sacademic performance such as stress, anxiety or depression, hence, improvingone’s ability to succeed academically.