Profiles of Religiosity and Their Association With Risk Behavior Among Emerging Adults in the United States

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, Michael G. Vaughn, Brandy R. Maynard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


There exists significant variation in religious expression, and a growing body of research suggests the importance of examining this variation among emerging adults vis-à-vis involvement in antisocial and high-risk behaviors. Drawing from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH; N = 19,312) and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC; N = 2,721), latent profile analysis and multinomial regression are employed to examine the relationships between latent religiosity classes, antisocial behavior, substance use, and substance use disorders. Results revealed four-class solutions for both the NSDUH and NESARC samples. Emerging adults classified as “publicly and privately devoted” were substantially less likely to be involved in a broad array of risk behaviors and to meet criteria for substance use disorders. Findings suggest the protective effect of religiosity finds its most powerful expression primarily among the minority of emerging adults most profoundly committed to religious life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-84
Number of pages18
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Apr 16

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported in part by Grant Number R25 DA026401 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood and SAGE Publications.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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