Does religious involvement protect against early drinking? A behavior genetic approach.
ABSTRACT Adolescent involvement in religious organizations has been hypothesized to protect against early age at first drink. However, the correlation between adolescent religiosity and later age at first drink may be confounded by environmental or genetic differences between families. This study tests whether, after controlling for shared environmental and genetic confounds using a behavior genetic design, the association between individual levels of religiosity and earlier age at first drink is still evident.
Twin and sibling pairs were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally-representative sample of US adolescents. Age at first drink was measured as how old adolescents were when they first had a drink of beer, wine, or liquor. Religiosity was measured using four items concerning frequency of religious activities and importance of religious beliefs. Using twins and siblings who were discordant for religiosity, analyses tested whether religious adolescents had a later age at first drink than their non-religious co-twins/co-siblings.
Religious adolescents did not differ from their non-religious siblings in their mean age at first drink. Results from survival models indicate that environmental differences between families completely account for the correlation between religiosity and later age at first drink.
Results suggest that individual religious involvement is a proxy variable for family or cultural environments that are salient for when adolescents initiate alcohol use. Future research is needed to identify specific protective environments in religious families. These results have implications for both public policy and etiological theory.
- SourceAvailable from: Michael J Mason[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although some evidence indicates that religiosity may be protective against substance use in the urban youth population, limited research has investigated the effects of multiple dimensions of religiosity on substance use in this population. In this study, a sample of 301 urban adolescents was used (a) to test the effects of three dimensions of religiosity (social religiosity, perceived religious support, and private religiosity) as well as proximity to religious institutions and (b) to determine their correlates with tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use. It was hypothesized that all three dimensions of religiosity would act as protective factors against all types of substance use and that proximity to religious institutions from adolescents' routine locations would also serve as a protective factor against any type of substance use. Results of logistic regression analysis showed that social religiosity and perceived religious support were protective against marijuana and tobacco use, respectively. Private religiosity was not protective against any type of substance use. Proximity to religious institutions was protective against alcohol use. These findings suggest the importance of examining multiple dimensions of religiosity when investigating substance use in urban youth and offer initial evidence of the importance of proximity to religious institutions as a protective factor against substance use.The Journal of Prevention 11/2012; 33(5-6). DOI:10.1007/s10935-012-0283-y
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: There are dramatic individual differences among adolescents in how and when they become sexually active adults, and early sexual activity is frequently cited as a cause of concern for scientists, policymakers, and the general public. Understanding the causes and developmental impact of adolescent sexual activity can be furthered by considering genes as a source of individual differences. Quantitative behavioral genetics (i.e., twin and family studies) and candidate gene association studies now provide clear evidence for the genetic underpinnings of individual differences in adolescent sexual behavior and related phenotypes. Genetic influences on sexual behavior may operate through a variety of direct and indirect mechanisms, including pubertal development, testosterone levels, and dopaminergic systems. Genetic differences may be systematically associated with exposure to environments that are commonly treated as causes of sexual behavior (gene-environment correlation). Possible gene-environment correlations pose a serious challenge for interpreting the results of much behavioral research. Multivariate, genetically informed research on adolescent sexual behavior compares twins and family members as a form of quasi experiment: How do twins who differ in their sexual experiences differ in their later development? The small but growing body of genetically informed research has already challenged dominant assumptions regarding the etiology and sequelae of adolescent sexual behavior, with some studies indicating possible positive effects of teenage sexuality. Studies of Gene × Environment interaction may further elucidate the mechanisms by which genes and environments combine to shape the development of sexual behavior and its psychosocial consequences. Overall, the existence of heritable variation in adolescent sexual behavior has profound implications for environmentally oriented theory and research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).Psychological Bulletin 07/2013; 140(2). DOI:10.1037/a0033564 · 14.39 Impact Factor
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This study examines the associations between sociodemographic and family environment factors, and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems in a socioeconomically disadvantaged community in the northeastern state of Bahia, Brazil. Three-hundred and forty-four adolescents, age 11 to 18 (mean age = 13.6 years) responded to a school-based survey that assessed sociodemographic indicators of risk (e.g., race, parental marital status, parental education, parental employment), intrinsic religiosity, family conflict, and family cohesion. Results indicate that high family cohesion and low family conflict are associated with lower risk for probable internalizing and externalizing disorders among girls but not boys. This gender difference is particularly important as it suggests that mechanisms of risk and protection vary for boys and girls. These findings shed light on risk factors in adolescence in the context of vast socioeconomic disparity found in Brazil.International Journal of Mental Health 01/2011; 40(3). DOI:10.2753/IMH0020-7411400304