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J Adolesc Health. 2004 Mar;34(3):192-9.

The protective influence of spirituality and "Health-as-a-Value" against monthly substance use among adolescents varying in risk.

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Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Alhambra, California 91803, USA.



To investigate the influence of two potentially protective factors, Health-as-a-Value and spirituality, on monthly alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use in two multiethnic groups of adolescents varying in risk.


Three-hundred-eighty-two students from continuation/alternative high school, a population considered at risk for drug use, participated in the study. The other sample of 260 students was drawn from a medical magnet high school, and is considered to be at lower risk. Similar surveys containing measures of spirituality, "Health-as-a-Value," and monthly substance use, were distributed. Logistic regression analyses were performed.


The analyses revealed that spirituality was protective against monthly alcohol use and marijuana use in the lower risk sample. In the higher risk sample, spirituality was protective against all monthly use. "Health-as-a-Value" (HAV) was protective against monthly alcohol use in the low risk sample, and protective against all monthly use in the higher risk sample. Importantly, when both constructs were entered into the same model, spirituality and HAV were independently protective of all monthly use for the higher risk sample and of monthly alcohol use in the lower risk sample.


These findings extend earlier work on protective factors. "Health-as-a-Value" and spirituality may be protective against substance use in environments with different levels of use. Future studies should explore these findings in longitudinal analyses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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