A new national study by two Brigham Young University sociologists finds that religious involvement makes teens half as likely to use marijuana.

The study – which will be published October 13 in the Journal of Drug Issues – settles a question scholars have disagreed on in the past.

"Some may think this is an obvious finding, but research and expert opinion on this issue have not been consistent," said BYU sociology professor Stephen Bahr and an author on the study. "After we accounted for family and peer characteristics, and regardless of denomination, there was an independent effect that those who were religious were less likely to do drugs, even when their friends were users."

The study, co-authored by BYU sociologist John Hoffmann, also found individual religiosity buffered peer pressure for cigarette smoking and heavy drinking.

The term religiosity as used in the study has to do with people's participation in a religion and not the particular denomination. Hoffmann said the protective effect of church and spirituality supplements the influence of parents.

"Previously, it was thought that if someone grew up in a religious community and went to church, then the community’s religious strength would make a difference,” Bahr said. “We basically found that this was not the case. Individual religiosity is what makes the difference."

Source: Science Daily
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081010175311.htm