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Religiosity and substance use and abuse among adolescents in the National Comorbidity Survey.

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Division of Clinical and Genetic Epidemiology, Columbia University, New York, USA.



To replicate previous findings among adults of an inverse association between religiosity and substance use among a nationally representative sample of adolescents.


Subjects were 676 (328 female and 348 male) adolescents in the National Comorbidity Survey who were assessed for substance use and abuse with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. Religiosity was assessed through affiliation with religious denomination and through response to 7 questions concerning belief and practice.


Confirmatory factor analyses replicated in adolescents the 2 religiosity factors of personal devotion and personal conservatism previously identified by Kendler among adults, although the 2 factors were more highly correlated in adolescents than in adults. Personal devotion (a personal relationship with the Divine) and affiliation with more fundamentalist religious denominations were inversely associated with substance use and substance dependence or abuse across a range of substances (alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, or any contraband drug). Personal conservatism (a personal commitment to teaching and living according to creed) was inversely associated with use of alcohol only.


Low levels of religiosity may be associated with adolescent onset of substance use and abuse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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