Friday, January 15, 2010

Kids who go to church are less likely to smoke pot


We saw in a recent post that high school seniors who are Democrats are more likely to use marijuana than Republicans. The above graph shows the same pattern for seniors who never go to church (N = 1,606, 2008 Monitoring the Future). Twenty-two percent of them have smoked pot 40 or more times, compared to only seven percent of those who attend religious services at least weekly. The difference is statistically significant.

3 comments:

Φ said...

Independently of the trend you observe, I am struck by the stability of the size of the middle groups (1 - 39 instances) across categories, both in this graph and the last.

It would take a longitudinal study to confirm this, but the impression this leaves is that marijuana does not lend itself to only sporadic use. For some reason (addiction?), once people try marijuana, they appear to keep using it, working their way through the instance count groups until they emerge into the sunlit uplands of 40+ instances (i.e. lost count).

Of course, there are confounding variables. It may be that the kind of people who are willing to try an illegal drug once are not the kind of people who excel at restraining their own appetites.

Granite26 said...

High School students whose parents are involved enough in their lives to drag them to church are less likely to engage in ilicit activities than (Parents who aren't involved + Parents who are involved but don't go to church)?

Seems like there's an uncontrolled variable there.

Anonymous said...

"It would take a longitudinal study to confirm this, but the impression this leaves is that marijuana does not lend itself to only sporadic use. For some reason (addiction?), once people try marijuana, they appear to keep using it, working their way through the instance count groups until they emerge into the sunlit uplands of 40+ instances (i.e. lost count)."

I think you would see the same thing with alcohol, masturbation, sex, tobacco, or any other "taboo". One group who hasn't ever done it, a smaller group who did it once or twice and probably didn't like it, and then the rest who do it regularly. Once a taboo has been broken, it stops being a taboo - there is no value in maintaining a taboo once one has broken it, and much more value in trying to undermine it. Hence, if one wants to destroy a taboo, it's crucial to get as many people as possible to break it before they really know what they're doing. That's how you take a school where the virgins shame the sluts to a school where the sluts shame the virgins, for example.