Religiosity may be defined as the adoption of a core set of previously established religious beliefs and practices concerning the ultimate nature of life and existence. Religiosity seems to reliably predict lower levels of substance abuse (Yonker, Schnabelrauch, & De Haan, 2012), and recent studies have characterized the mechanisms that may explain this effect. Koenig, King, & Larson (2012) stated that among other variables, religiosity contributes to reduced substance abuse of adolescents. In addition, these researchers indicated that religiosity can be helpful in contributing to the prevention of substance abuse.
Spirituality, defined as the integration of meaning and purpose in life through connectedness with oneself, others, nature, or a power greater than oneself, has been shown to be negatively related to substance abuse. Kelly et al. (2011) found evidence suggesting increased spirituality may mediate the effect of reduced substance abuse among adolescents. In addition, higher levels of spirituality have been linked to lower levels of substance abuse as well as to the facilitation of recovery from substance abuse (Hawley et al., 2014).
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship between the rate of substance abuse (cannabis and alcohol) and the level of religiosity and spirituality of 318 12th grade Israeli Jewish high school students. The students were administered three research questionnaires: a) Substance Abuse Questionnaire; b) Religiosity Questionnaire; and c) Spirituality Questionnaire.
Results of the statistical analyses performed on the data collected in the study in order to assess potential differences between students who were characterized by regular substance abuse and those who refrained from the use of cannabis and alcohol indicate that participants who abstained from the use of cannabis and alcohol were characterized by significantly higher levels of religiosity and spirituality than those who were typified by substance abuse.
Preliminary conclusions derived from the results of the study indicate that high school students who refrain from using prohibited substances such as cannabis and alcohol have significantly higher levels of religiosity and spirituality than students who indulged in substance abuse. This conclusion indicates the potential that religiosity and spirituality may have as key variables in a carefully constructed substance abuse counseling program.