Stephen J Bahr; John P Hoffmann
Journal of Drug Issues; Summer 2008; 38, 3; Health Module
In this paper, the writers examined the relationship between religiously, peer drug use, and adolescent drug use among 4, 983 Utah adolescents and the 13, 534 respondents from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (Add Heath). Adolescents who were religious were less likely to smoke, drink heavily, and use marijuana than adolescents who were not religious. Adolescents in highly religious schools were less likely to smoke than adolescents in schools low on religiosity. Adolescents in highly religious schools were less likely to smoke than adolescents in schools low on religiosity.
Individual religiously tended to lessen the influence of peer drug use on respondent drug use for cigarettes, heavy drinking, and marijuana use but not for the use of other illicit drugs. The association between individual religiosity and the four types of drug use were not affected by the level of school religiosity. The findings were consistent across the two different samples and three types of drugs: cigarettes, heavy drinking, and marijuana.
Data for these came from two large surveys of adolescents. These two surveys enabled the researchers to overcome several methodological limitations in existing literature. First, in much existing research, there were not adequate measures of family characteristics particularly of parent-adolescent bonds. In both of these surveys, there were good measures of adolescent bonding to both mothers and fathers. Second, multilevel models are needed to estimate the extent to which school-level religiosity is associated with adolescent drug use. In both surveys, the cluster sampling within schools enabled them to use school-level religiosity data when estimating the models. Third, the Utah data were valuable because Utah is a state with a high level of religious involvement. Both data...