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J Relig Health. 2014 Jun;53(3):658-74. doi: 10.1007/s10943-012-9660-3.

Religiosity and exposure to users in explaining illicit drug use among emerging adults.

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Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, The Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, 726 Broadway, Suite 525, New York, NY, 10003, USA,


Religiosity is a protective factor against illicit drug use, but further investigation is needed to delineate which components of religiosity are protective against use. A racially diverse sample (N = 962) was surveyed about religiosity, exposure to users, and recent use of marijuana, powder cocaine, ecstasy, and nonmedical use of opioids and amphetamine. Results suggest that identifying as Agnostic increased odds of use for each of the five drugs; however, this effect disappeared when controlling for religious importance and attendance. High levels of religious attendance were protective against recent use of marijuana and cocaine, but protective effects diminished when controlling for exposure to users, which was a robust predictor of use of every drug. Religion is a protective mechanism against drug use, but this effect may diminish in light of exposure to users. Alternative preventative methods need to be directed toward individuals who are not religious or are highly exposed to users.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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