Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 56, Issue 6, pp 2010–2022 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Religion and Risky Behaviors Among Iranian University Students

  • Zahra Ameri
  • Fahimeh Mirzakhani
  • Amir Reza Nabipour
  • Narges Khanjani
  • Mark J. M. Sullman
Original Paper


One factor that protects an individual from risky behavior is religiosity, which is referred to as a shield against risky behaviors. Belief in God and religion plays an important role in young people’s lives, and in comparison with their non-religious peers. They engage less frequently in risky behaviors, such as violence and sexual relations. The present study investigated the relationship between religiosity and engagement in risky behaviors among students from the Pishva branch of the Islamic Azad University, Tehran Province in Iran. This is a descriptive, analytic cross-sectional study. The sample was comprised of 448 students from different degree majors attending the University. Participants completed two questionnaires, including the Risk-Taking Scale and Duke University Religion Index. The data analyses used one-way ANOVAs and Pearson’s correlations. This study found that students who engaged more often in organized religious activities and had higher intrinsic religiosity were less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as sexual risk taking, careless driving, violence, smoking, along with alcohol and drug abuse. Participants with higher involvement in private religious activities reported lower tendencies for the above-mentioned risky behaviors, except sexual risk taking. The findings of this study indicate that the different dimensions of religiousness are related to students’ tendency to avoid risky behavior. Thus, it appears that religion may have a role to play in preventing risky taking behavior in Iran.


Religion Students Risky behavior Iran 



The researchers would like to thank all who help with this study, including all the students that patiently answered all our questions.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zahra Ameri
    • 1
  • Fahimeh Mirzakhani
    • 2
  • Amir Reza Nabipour
    • 3
  • Narges Khanjani
    • 4
  • Mark J. M. Sullman
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Nursing and MidwiferyTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.South Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad UniversityTehranIran
  3. 3.Neuroscience Research CenterKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran
  4. 4.Environmental Health Engineering Research Center, Faculty of Public Health, Haft Bagh Alavi BlvdKerman University of Medical SciencesKermanIran
  5. 5.Driving Research GroupCranfield UniversityCranfieldUK

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