CitationMak, Hei Wan (2019). Dimensions of religiosity: The effects of attendance at religious services and religious faith on discontinuity in substance use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. vol. 80 (3) pp. 358-365
Previous studies have shown that religion plays an important role in substance misuse. This study examines the effects of the two widely used dimensions of religiosity—religious behavior measured by attendance at religious services and religious faith measured by the importance of religious faith—on cigarette, alcohol, and drug non-use in adulthood.
The analysis was based on data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), Waves 1, 3, and 4. The sample was restricted to those who reported having used the substance in Wave 3 (ages 18–25). Four outcome variables (cigarette, alcohol, marijuana, and any illicit drugs) were generated indicating respondents’ substance non-use in the past 30 days in Wave 4 (ages 25–32). The number of core sample sizes varied depending on the type of substance (N = 666–1,045). Logistic regression and propensity score matching (PSM) methods (the kernel matching and nearest-neighbor matching methods) were used.
Church attendance frequency was significantly and positively associated with any kind of substance non-use in the past 30 days, whereas religious faith was related to the discontinuation of alcohol use only. After we controlled for the observables and confounding bias in the PSM models, results became weaker but remained statistically significant.
Social and instrumental support offered by churches may help people abstain from substance use. Health professionals could consider establishing partnerships with religious communities to support substance users.