Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 745–756 | Cite as

Processes Linking Parents’ and Adolescents’ Religiousness and Adolescent Substance Use: Monitoring and Self-Control

  • Jungmeen Kim-Spoon
  • Julee P. Farley
  • Christopher Holmes
  • Gregory S. Longo
  • Michael E. McCullough
Empirical Research


Empirical evidence suggests that religiousness is related negatively to adolescent substance use; yet, we know little about how such protective effects might occur. The current study examined whether parents’ and adolescents’ religiousness are associated positively with parental, religious, and self-monitoring, which in turn are related to higher self-control, thereby related to lower adolescent substance use. Participants were 220 adolescents (45 % female) who were interviewed at ages 10–16 and again 2.4 years later. Structural equation modeling analyses suggested that higher adolescents’ religiousness at Time 1 was related to lower substance use at Time 2 indirectly through religious monitoring, self-monitoring, and self-control. Higher parents’ religiousness at Time 1 was associated with higher parental monitoring at Time 2, which in turn was related to lower adolescent substance use at Time 2 directly and indirectly through higher adolescent self-control. The results illustrate that adolescents with high awareness of being monitored by God are likely to show high self-control abilities and, consequently, low substance use. The findings further suggest that adolescents’ religiousness as well as their religious environments (e.g., familial context) can facilitate desirable developmental outcomes.


Religiousness Monitoring Self-control Adolescent substance use 



This work was supported by Grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (HD057386) and the John Templeton Foundation. We thank Laurel Marburg, Eirini Papafratzeskakou, and Diana Riser for their help with data collection. We are grateful to adolescents and parents who participated in our study.

Author Contributions

JKS conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, performed statistical analyses and interpretation of the data, and drafted the manuscript; JPF participated in data collection and statistical analyses, and helped to draft the manuscript; CH participated in statistical analyses and helped to draft the manuscript; GSL participated in data collection and helped to draft the manuscript; MEM conceived the study and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jungmeen Kim-Spoon
    • 1
  • Julee P. Farley
    • 1
  • Christopher Holmes
    • 1
  • Gregory S. Longo
    • 3
  • Michael E. McCullough
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychology (MC 0436)Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MiamiCoral GablesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Behavioral and Social SciencesUniversity of MontevalloMontevalloUSA

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