Spirituality as a 1-Year Prospective Predictor of Violence Perpetration and Drug Use Among Youth at Continuation High Schools1


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    This research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DA07601). The authors thank Robin Mermelstein for her very helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Steve Sussman, IPR-USC, 1000 S. Fremont Avenue, Unit 8, Building A-4, Room 4124, Alhambra, CA 91803. E-mail: ssussma@hsc.usc.edu


This paper presents the results of a 1-year prospective study of violence perpetration, drug use, and spirituality among continuation high school youth. Spirituality was found to predict later violence perpetration and drug use as a single predictor. However, it failed to predict violence or drug use in models that also entered 6 other variables; particularly, baseline levels of violence and drug use, and morality of drug use. It is possible that current measures of spirituality predict later violence perpetration and drug use as a result of tapping attitudes about morality. Controlling for baseline spirituality, male gender, low morality of drug use, violence perpetration, and drug use predicted later spirituality. Spirituality appears to be affected by drug use and violence, but not the converse. The protective influence of spirituality is not supported, at least as currently measured.