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Religious Participation and Risky Health Behaviors among Adolescents

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  • Jennifer M. Mellor

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

  • Beth A. Freeborn

    ()
    (Department of Economics, College of William and Mary)

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that adolescent religious participation is negatively associated with risky health behaviors like cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and illicit drug use. One explanation for these findings is that religion directly reduces risky behaviors because churches provide youths with moral guidance or with strong social networks that reinforce social norms. An alternative explanation is that both religious participation and risky health behaviors are driven by some common unobserved individual trait. We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and implement an instrumental variables approach to identify the effect of religious participation on smoking, binge drinking and marijuana use. Following Gruber (2005), we use a county-level measure of religious market density as an instrument. Religious market density has a strong positive association on adolescent religious participation, but not on secular measures of social capital. Upon accounting for unobserved heterogeneity, we find that religious participation continues to have a negative effect on illicit drug use.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, College of William and Mary in its series Working Papers with number 86.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 20 Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cwm:wpaper:86

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Keywords: Substance Abuse; Religion; Tobacco; Youth;

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References

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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2000. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," NBER Working Papers 7831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Christopher F Baum & Mark E. Schaffer & Steven Stillman, 2007. "Enhanced routines for instrumental variables/GMM estimation and testing," CERT Discussion Papers 0706, Centre for Economic Reform and Transformation, Heriot Watt University.
  3. Rajeev Dehejia & Thomas DeLeire & Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Joshua Mitchell, 2007. "The Role of Religious and Social Organizations in the Lives of Disadvantaged Youth," NBER Working Papers 13369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gruber Jonathan H, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-32, September.
  5. Ross, Hana PhD & Chaloupka, Frank J. PhD, 2001. "The Effect of Cigarette Prices on Youth Smoking," University of California at San Francisco, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education qt8004m9n5, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, UC San Francisco.
  6. Sarah Brown & Karl Taylor, 2003. "Religion and Education: Evidence from the National Child Development Study," Discussion Papers in Economics 03/16, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
  7. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nonnemaker, James M. & McNeely, Clea A. & Blum, Robert Wm., 2003. "Public and private domains of religiosity and adolescent health risk behaviors: evidence from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 57(11), pages 2049-2054, December.
  9. Jonathan Gruber, 2005. "Religious Market Structure, Religious Participation, and Outcomes: Is Religion Good for You?," NBER Working Papers 11377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Philip DeCicca & Donald Kenkel & Alan Mathios, 2002. "Putting Out the Fires: Will Higher Taxes Reduce the Onset of Youth Smoking?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(1), pages 144-169, February.
  11. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Religiosity and risky behavior
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2009-09-09 14:00:00
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Cited by:
  1. You, Kai, 2011. "Education, risk perceptions, and health behaviors," MPRA Paper 35535, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Jason Fletcher & Sanjeev Kumar, 2013. "Religion and Risky Health Behaviors among U.S. Adolescents and Adults," NBER Working Papers 19225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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  1. Economic Logic blog

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