Church Attendance & Marijuana Usage

08 Jul, 2015

How does church attendance impact drug usage among high school students?

This analysis uses data from “Monitoring the Future” survey from high school students to see the association between alcohol/marijuana/smoking behavior and student background (e.g. Parent’s education, Religiosity). Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students, and young adults.

We will start with overall trends and then delve into student background information. Figure 1 shows the % of Students who have Ever Tried different drugs in their lifetime (1991–2014). Analysis can be broken down by drug type and student grade (use filters on right to flip through). 


Figure 1: Trends in Drug Usage by US High School Students

Does student background impact drug usage?

This analysis focuses on 3 substances: Alcohol/Cigarette/Marijuana for high school students. 

Flipping through the student background variables, it seems that Ideological/religious variables seem to have more of an impact than parent’s education.  

Figure 2: Variation in % Ever Tried Alcohol/Cig./Marijuana by Student Background 

Figure 3 fixes the “frequency of Church/Religious Attendance” on the bottom axis and reports  % of high school students who have tried cigarette/marijuana/alcohol by other variables.

Likelihood of substance use drops sharply with weekly church attendance, regardless of other background variables  (e.g. Parents education, # of dates per week). 

Figure 3: % Ever Tried Alcohol/Cig./Marijuana–Interaction of Church Attendance & Other Background Variables


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