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New Study: Religious Childhood Can Prevent Alcohol and Drug Addictions

Veronica Neffinger | iBelieve Contributor | Tuesday, November 3, 2015

New Study: Religious Childhood Can Prevent Alcohol and Drug Addictions

A new study has found that a religious childhood can help prevent the likelihood that an individual will develop a drug or alcohol addiction later in life.

Christian Today reports that a research paper recently published in the academic journal Religions, by author Michelle Porche, with contributions from others, has found that devotional practices, regular church attendance, and belief in religious doctrines or values can help guard teens against the temptations of drug and alcohol abuse.

"Religiosity may be particularly protective during the transition period from adolescence to emerging adulthood," the paper, which was published at the recovery conference this week, states. “If teens make a ‘personal choice’ to engage in religious or spiritual activities, they are more likely to take healthy behavior and decision-making into adulthood.”

The finding that religion can help prevent teens from alcohol and drug abuse is crucial because early alcohol use is linked to a higher likelihood of developing a serious alcohol or drug addiction as an adult. 

For example, research found that children who have their first drink at 14, are four times more likely to develop a serious alcohol addiction as an adult, compared to those who have their first drink at age 20 or older.

“Our study supports that higher religiosity in childhood and emerging adulthood as defined as more church attendance in these periods of life may be protective against early onset alcohol use and later development of alcohol problems. Religiosity is one of many factors that can influence alcohol use but the fact that it is associated with decreased risk in emerging adulthood is noteworthy for development of potential interventions," the paper states.

The authors of the paper also suggest that mental health care may be well-served by including religion and spirituality in treatment.

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Publication date: November 3, 2015