Religious Involvement and Substance Use Among Urban Mothers

Amy M. Burdette, Terrence D. Hill, Noah S. Webb, Jason A. Ford, Stacy H. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Although numerous cross-sectional studies suggest that religious involvement is associated with lower rates of substance use, it is unclear whether these protective effects can be observed over time with more rigorous longitudinal designs. In this study, we use longitudinal data from the U.S. Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (n = 3,176) to test whether indicators of religious involvement are protective against illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse among mothers who are primarily single and of low socioeconomic status. Our results show that religious involvement at baseline is unrelated to prescription drug misuse at follow-up. We also find that religious attendance at baseline reduces the odds of illicit drug use at follow-up. Respondents who increased their level of religious attendance over the study period also tended to exhibit a concurrent reduction in the odds of illicit drug use. Although prior substance use was unrelated to changes in religious attendance, prior illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse were associated with a reduction in religious salience over the study period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-172
Number of pages17
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • church attendance
  • maternal health
  • prescription drug misuse
  • religious involvement
  • substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies


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