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Religion and risky health behaviors among U.S. adolescents and adults

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  • Fletcher, Jason
  • Kumar, Sanjeev

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the effects of a broad set of measures of religiosity—religious attendance, prayer frequency, and self-reported importance of religion—on risky health behaviors at different stages of the life course. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we estimate the contemporaneous as well as medium- and longer-term effects of religiosity during the adolescence years on the use of both licit and illicit substances—cigarette, binge drinking, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, inhalants, LSD, heroin, PCP, and other illegal drugs. Using sibling fixed effects models, we find novel evidence that intrinsic religiosity—self-reported importance of religion—during adolescence has the most significant effects on reducing dependence on use and abuse of additive substances.

Suggested Citation

  • Fletcher, Jason & Kumar, Sanjeev, 2014. "Religion and risky health behaviors among U.S. adolescents and adults," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 123-140.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:104:y:2014:i:c:p:123-140
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2014.03.018
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    Cited by:

    1. Berggren, Niclas & Ljunge, Martin, 2017. "Does Religion Make You Sick? Evidence of a Negative Relationship between Religious Background and Health," Working Paper Series 1173, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    2. Grimm, Michael & Treibich, Carole, 2016. "Why do some motorbike riders wear a helmet and others don’t? Evidence from Delhi, India," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 318-336.
    3. Mendolia, Silvia & Paloyo, Alfredo R. & Walker, Ian, 2018. "The effect of religiosity on adolescent risky behaviors," Ruhr Economic Papers 755, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. Zhong Chunping & Pan Li & Shu Lingwei, 2016. "Do religious beliefs affect borrowing behavior? Evidence from Chinese households," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 989-1005, December.
    5. Daniel M. Hungerman, 2014. "Do Religious Proscriptions Matter?: Evidence from a Theory-Based Test," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 49(4), pages 1053-1093.
    6. Daniel M. Hungerman & Kevin J. Rinz & Jay Frymark, 2017. "Beyond the Classroom: The Implications of School Vouchers for Church Finances," NBER Working Papers 23159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Olga Popova, 2017. "Does religiosity explain economic outcomes?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 335-335, February.
    8. Olga Popova, 2016. "Suffer for the Faith? Parental Religiosity and Children’s Health," Working Papers 356, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Substance abuse; Religion; Intrinsic religiosity; Illicit drug; Adolescence; Young adult;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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