The Role of Stress and Spirituality in Adolescent Substance Use

Katrina Debnam, Adam J. Milam, C. Debra Furr-Holden, Catherine Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Substance use can occur as a result of coping with stress. Within the school context, youth are exposed to stressors related to school achievement and peer-relationships. Protective factors, such as spirituality, may moderate adolescents' engagement in substance use. Objective: The current study investigated the role of spirituality in the association between stress and substance use, in an effort to test the hypothesis that spirituality moderates the association between stress and substance use. Methods: This study used data from youth in grades 6-8 attending 40 parochial private schools. A total of 5,217 students participated in the web-based survey administered in Spring 2013. Multilevel structural equation models were used to examine the association between stress, spirituality, and substance use, while accounting for the nested nature of the data (i.e., students within schools). Results: Higher stress was significantly associated with increased alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use among youth (b =.306, p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 11 2016


  • adolescents
  • Alcohol
  • drugs
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Role of Stress and Spirituality in Adolescent Substance Use'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this