Religious Involvement and Dynamics of Marijuana Use: Initiation, Persistence, and Desistence

Jeffery T. Ulmer, Scott A. Desmond, Sung Joon Jang, Byron R. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Studies that examine the effects of adolescent religiosity on the initiation of, persistence in, and desistence from delinquency are rare. Yet, religion may differentially affect dimensions of delinquency in the early life course. Therefore, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we examine the relationship between measures of adolescent religion, as well as changes in religious involvement, and later patterns of marijuana use. We also examine the extent to which religious effects, if any, are mediated by key predictors of delinquency drawn from prominent criminological theories. The results suggest that the primary effect of religion on marijuana use is to prevent its initiation in the first place. Only part of religion's preventative effect on initiation is mediated by social bonds, delinquent peers, or self control. Although religious youth are less likely to ever use marijuana, adolescent religious involvement does not significantly predict desistence from marijuana use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-468
Number of pages21
JournalDeviant Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Religious Involvement and Dynamics of Marijuana Use: Initiation, Persistence, and Desistence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this