Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on ReligionInstitute for Studies of Relgion
IJRR :: 2010 Volume 6 :: Article 1
2010 Volume 6, Article 1
Religion, Race, and Drug Use Among American Youth

Author: Sung Joon Jang (Baylor University) and Byron R. Johnson (Baylor University)

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Although previous studies have found that black youths use drugs less than white youths, black-white differences have rarely been explained by using data that span childhood through young adulthood. To fill this research gap, we employ nationally representative panel data to examine whether race differences occur because black youths (1) are less likely to be reared by parents who smoke, drink, and/or use illicit drugs; (2) are less likely to have drug-using friends; more likely to grow up within an evangelical Protestant religion; and (3) are more likely to be religiously involved than white youths are. Results from estimating a series of ordinary least squares regression models show that the race differences in drug use during young adulthood are due partly to differences between black and white youths in exposure to parent and peer drug users, religious involvement, and, to a lesser extent, religious upbringing.

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