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Religion and Vulnerability among Low-Risk Adolescents


Regnerus, Mark D. & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (2003). Religion and Vulnerability among Low-Risk Adolescents. Social Science Research, 32(4), 633-658.


Studies of resilient youth have documented the helpful influence of religion in their lives. In the absence of positive influences among high-risk youth, religion and religious organizations in particular often serve to promote prosocial outcomes. This study, on the other hand, investigates whether religion and religious change are comparably effective influences in reducing the vulnerability of low-risk youth to drinking, drug use, delinquency, problems in school, and poor grades. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study identified at least one influential aspect of religion that serves as a direct protective factor across each mode of vulnerability, and also documented indirect pathways of religious influence. We discuss the findings and consider the variable influence of religion on youth.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social Science Research


Regnerus, Mark D.
Elder, Glen H., Jr.