Religiosity and Associations with Substance Use and Delinquency Among Urban African American Adolescents

Javari Fairclough, Mohamed Abd-Elmonem, Gabriel J. Merrin, Jun Sung Hong, Dexter R. Voisin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescent delinquency and substance use are global problems. African American adolescents are especially susceptible to the life-changing consequences of these problem behaviors. Religiosity is a notable protective factor that has been shown to mitigate these behaviors. This study uses a person-centered approach to examine the extent to which religiosity is associated with lower rates of delinquency and substance use among urban African American adolescents in the United States. Latent Class Analysis was used to examine the heterogeneity in five religiosity items among a sample of adolescents ages 13–18. After identifying religiosity classes through a class enumeration process, we examined predictors of the classes using multinomial logistic regression. The classes were then used to predict several substance use and delinquency outcomes. Three religiosity classes were identified; “low religious beliefs and engagement,” (15.19%, n = 94), “religious with low active engagement,” (56.70%, n = 351), and “religious with high active engagement,” (28.11%, n = 174). Protective effects of religiosity on substance use (e.g., alcohol) and delinquency were found (e.g., assault). Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-550
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2023.


  • Delinquency
  • Latent class analysis
  • Religiosity
  • Substance use


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