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The Effect of Religiosity on Adolescent Risky Behaviors

Silvia Mendolia (), Alfredo Paloyo and Ian Walker ()
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Silvia Mendolia: University of Wollongong

No 11566, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between religiosity and risky behaviors in adolescence using data from a large and detailed cohort study of 14 year olds who have been followed for seven years. We focus on the effect of the self-reported importance of religion and on the risk of youths having early sexual intercourse, drinking underage, trying cigarettes, trying cannabis, and being involved in fighting at ages 14–17. We use school and individual fixed effects, and we control for a rich set of adolescent, school, and family characteristics, including achievements in standardized test scores at age 11, parental employment, and marital status. We also control for information on personality traits, such as work ethic, self-esteem, and external locus of control. Our results show that individuals with low religiosity are more likely to engage in risky health behaviors, whatever their combination of personality traits. These effects are robust to separate estimations for boys and girls and to the control variables used. Moreover, the results are essentially unchanged when we use Inverse Probability Weighted Regression Adjustment estimation methods – which provide causal estimates conditional on selection on observables only.

Keywords: health behaviors; religiosity; personality; fixed effects (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I10 I12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea
Date: 2018-05
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Working Paper: The effect of religiosity on adolescent risky behaviors (2018) Downloads
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