Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 355–364 | Cite as

The Protective Effects of Religious Beliefs on Behavioral Health Factors Among Low Income African American Adolescents in Chicago

  • Dong Ha KimEmail author
  • Justin Harty
  • Lois Takahashi
  • Dexter R. Voisin
Original Paper


Religious involvement has long been argued to have protective effects for negative behavioral health outcomes for vulnerable youth. This study builds on the existing resilience literature and need for more studies that examine protective factors associated with behavioral health. A sample of 638 low-income African American adolescents in Chicago to examine within group variations of the influence of religious involvement on delinquency, school engagement, substance use and sexual risk behaviors, and whether such relationships differ by gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Logistic regression findings documented that greater religious involvement was protective with regards to lower rates of delinquency, drug use, risky sexual behaviors and higher rates of school engagement, and that gender, sexual orientation and socioeconomic status varied for several of these relationships. Overall findings are discussed with regards to future research.


Religion Protective effects Behavioral health 



This study was funded by the STI/HIV Intervention Network and the Center for Health Administration Studies at the University of Chicago awarded to principal investigator Dexter Voisin.

Author Contributions

D.H.K.: Analyzed the analyses and wrote the results. J.H.: wrote the literature review and edited the final manuscript. L.T.: assisted with writing and editing the paper. D.R.V.: conceptualized, designed and conducted the study and was the senior and supervising author for the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The University of Chicago provided IRB approval for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dong Ha Kim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Justin Harty
    • 2
  • Lois Takahashi
    • 3
  • Dexter R. Voisin
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Social WelfareChungwoon UniversityHongseongRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.School of Social Service AdministrationThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.Price School of Public PolicyUniversity of Southern California1800 I SacramentoUSA
  4. 4.School of Social Service AdministrationThe University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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