Category: Child / Adolescent - Externalizing

PS11- #C77 - The Protective Factor of Religiosity on Marijuana Use Mediated by Risk Perception

Saturday, Nov 18
12:15 PM – 1:15 PM
Location: Indigo Ballroom CDGH, Level 2, Indigo Level

Keywords: Adolescents | Substance Abuse | Spirituality and Religion

Among adolescents, religiosity has been found to be associated with lower rates of marijuana use. Few studies have examined the impact of religiosity on the perceived risk of marijuana use. There is strong support that perceived risk of using marijuana is negatively correlated with the frequency of marijuana use by adolescents. We examined the relationship among religiosity, perceived risk, and marijuana use in a national sample of adolescents. Data was drawn from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Participants included in this study were 17,736 adolescents ranging in age from 12 to 17. The sample is stratified by race/ethnicity, gender, age, and geographic region to reflect the U.S. population. The survey contains questions about lifetime, weekly, and past month substance use of all major drug classes. Additionally, adolescent respondents were asked about a variety of topics including social support, religious involvement and attitudes, and perceived riskiness of using substances. Background information includes, gender, race/ethnicity, age, and educational level. In this study 54% of participants were female and 46% were male. Ethnicity of participants included Caucasian (56%), Hispanic (20%), African American (14%), biracial (5%), Asian (4%), and less than 1% identified as Native American. We tested a structural equation model of relationships among a latent variable representing religiosity (attending services, impact of religious belief on decisions, importance of friends sharing religious values, and importance of religious belief), a latent variable representing perceived risk (risk of using marijuana weekly and monthly), and an observed variable of total number of days using marijuana in the past 12 months. Results showed that this model was a good fit to the data and described a mediating relationship of perceived risk of using marijuana in the relationship between religiosity and marijuana use (X2 (12) =  370.236, p < .001, CFI = .992, NFI= .992, RMSEA = .041). Implications for leveraging religiosity in prevention of substance use will be discussed.

Malini Varma

Graduate Student
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle, Washington

Ashley Estoup

Graduate Student
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle, Washington

Lindsay Moore

Graduate Student
Seattle Pacific University

Jennifer Cataldi

Graduate Student
Seattle Pacific University

David Stewart

Chief Psychologist
Cambridge Health Alliance-Harvard Medical School