Maternal and personal religious engagement as predictors of early onset and frequent substance use

Authors

  • Reza Hayatbakhsh MD, PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    2. Mount Isa Hospital, Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia
    • Address correspondence to Dr. Hayatbakhsh, The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Herston Road, Herston, Qld 4006, Australia. E-mail: m.hayatbakhsh@uq.edu.au.

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  • Alexandra Clavarino PhD,

    1. School of Pharmacy, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
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  • Gail M. Williams PhD,

    1. School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
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  • Jake M. Najman PhD

    1. School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
    2. School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
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Abstract

Background and Objective

This study examined whether maternal and offspring's religiosity independently predict age of onset and frequency of substance use in offspring, and whether gender differentiates these associations.

Methods

Data were from the Mater Hospital and University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy, a birth cohort study. Participants were a cohort of 3,537 persons who were born during 1981–83 and were followed-up to 21 years. Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were used to estimate relative risk of substance use.

Results

Both maternal and offspring's religious practice were associated with later onset and less frequent substance use. After adjustment for potential confounding and maternal religious background, offspring who were not attending church were more likely to report early onset of tobacco smoking (OR = 5.1; 95% CI: 2.8–9.4), alcohol drinking (OR = 17.4; 95% CI: 8.9–33.9) and cannabis use (OR = 7.5; 95% CI: 3.4–16.0).

Discussion and Conclusions

Findings of this study suggest family and personal religious practices are predictors of less substance use problems in adolescents and young adult males and females.

Scientific Significance and Future Directions

Religious engagement functions as a deterrent to adolescent tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis use. (Am J Addict 2014;23:363–370)

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