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J Res Adolesc. 2015 Mar;25(1):36-43.

Longitudinal Associations Among Religiousness, Delay Discounting, and Substance Use Initiation in Early Adolescence.

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Department of Psychology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Department of Psychology, University of Miami.
Advanced Recovery Research Center, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, University of Montevallo.


Prior research indicates that religiousness is related negatively to adolescent health risk behaviors, yet how such protective effects operate is not well understood. This study examined the longitudinal associations among organizational and personal religiousness, delay discounting, and substance use initiation (alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use). The sample comprised 106 early adolescents (10-13 years of age, 52% female) who were not using substances at Time 1. Path analyses suggested that high levels of personal religiousness at Time 1 were related to low levels of substance use at Time 2 (2.4 years later), mediated by low levels of delay discounting. Delay discounting appears to be an important contributor to the protective effect of religiousness on the development of substance use among adolescents.


Adolescent Substance Use Initiation; Delay Discounting; Religiousness

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