Adolescent Risk Behaviorsand Religion: Findings from a National Study

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University of Pennsylvania

Based on a national random sample of 2,004 youths, ages 11 to 18, the study finds that youth perceive religion as important and are active in religious worship and activities. It also finds that the perceived importance of religion and participation in religious activities are associated with decreased risk behaviors. Religiosity in teens was consistently associated with reduced risk behaviors in the areas of smoking, alcohol use, truancy, sexual activity, marijuana use and depression. The study stresses the importance of further understanding the relationship among religious variables, youths’ backgrounds, youth self-esteem and risk behaviors. Free. 41 pages. (215) 898-5511,