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Date of Award
Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)
Master of Science in Psychology
Much of the research on risk and protective factors of substance use in
adolescents has either assumed a priori that religiosity is a protective factor or has
included it as a part of an aggregate of proposed protective factors (Donovan Jessor &
Costa, 1991; Felix-Ortiz &Newcomb, 1992; Jessor & Jessor, 1977). However, very few
studies have examined religiosity as a discrete factor, and when this has been done
conflicting findings have often been cited (Hirschi & Stark, 1969; Stark, Kent & Doyle,
In the present study of 776 adolescents eM = 11.50 years, SD = 1.74 years) in
Portland, Oregon, a large city in the Pacific Northwest, both adolescent participants and
one of their guardians provided infonnation about the adolescents' alcohol, tobacco and
marijuana use, importance of school, self-worth, perceived social acceptance, and
intrinsic and extrinsic religiosity. A stratified quasi-random sampling approach was used
to ensure that the sample was sufficiently random while at the same time ensuring
adequate participation by members of minority groups (30.8% African American; 61.3%
White, not of Hispanic Origin; 1.5% American IndianlNative American; 2.4%
Spanish!Hispanic/Latino; 1.3% AsianlPacific Islander).
It was hypothesized that there would be an inverse relationship between
religiosity and substance use, and a positive correlation between religiosity and lmown
protective factors. It was further hypothesized that, as cited by Park, Bauer and Oescher
(2001), in European Americans both extrinsic and intrinsic religiosity would negatively
correlate with substance use, while in African Americans only intrinsic religiosity would
significantly correlate with substance use. Point-biserial analyses contradicted all of the
above hypotheses, revealing no significant relationship between any measure of
religiosity and substance use. Inverse relationships were found between self-worth and
importance and school and substance use. When the data was analyzed by ethnicity it was
found that in European Americans there were inverse relationships between importance
of school and self-worth and substance use, and a negative relationship between overall
religiousness and extrinsic religiosity and self-worth. In African American adolescents
and inverse relationship was found between self-worth and all categories of substance
use, importance of school and marijuana use, and a positive relationship was found
between intrinsic religiosity and self-worth.
Implications of the fmdings for regional variance in problem behavior theory and
the conventionality and unconventionality construct are discussed. The
reconceptualization of religiosity as a social rather than as an individual construct, and
the thus the importance of local norms on the effects of religiosity, is discussed. Finally,
constructs of worth- and acceptance-based theologies are discussed as important factors
in future research on religiosity.
Millkey, Alexander M. (2003). The Relationship Between Religiosity And Substance Use In Adolescents (Master's thesis, Pacific University). Retrieved from: