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Research has consistently shown that religiousness is associated with lower levels of alcohol and drug use, but little is known about the nature of adolescent religiousness or the mechanisms through which it influences problem behavior in this age group. This paper presents preliminary results from the Mid-Atlantic School Age Twin Study, a prospective, population-based study of 6–18-year-old twins and their mothers. Factor analysis of a scale developed to characterize adolescent religiousness, the Religious Attitudes and Practices Inventory (RAPI), revealed three factors: theism, religious/spiritual practices, and peer religiousness. Twin correlations and univariate behavior-genetic models for these factors and a measure of belief that drug use is sinful reveal in 357 twin pairs that common environmental factors significantly influence these traits, but a minor influence of genetic factors could not be discounted. Correlations between the multiple factors of adolescent religiousness and substance use, comorbid problem behavior, mood disorders, and selected risk factors for substance involvement are also presented. Structural equation modeling illustrates that specific religious beliefs about the sinfulness of drugs and level of peer religiousness mediate the relationship between theistic beliefs and religious/spiritual practices on substance use. Limitations and future analyses are discussed.
Three dimensions of temperament — difficult temperament, unadaptablility and unsociability — were assessed in the first year of life by maternal interview in twins born in Puerto Rico during 2001 and 2002. Eight hundred and sixty-five eligible mothers (80%) were traced and interviewed. Model- fitting results showed that additive genetic factors and the individual specific environment contributed to variation in all three dimensions. In addition, the pattern of variances and correlations suggested that sibling contrast effects influence ratings of difficult temperament. Moderate effects of the shared environment contributed to ratings of adaptability and sociability. There was a significant genetic correlation between difficult temperament and unadaptability. Genetic and environmental effects do not differ significantly between boys and girls. The study is the first population-based study of Puerto Rican twins and one of few to attempt the assessment of behavior in the first year. Preliminary results for difficult temperament and sociability were consistent with those in other populations and ages. In contrast, a significant effect of the shared environment on the temperamental trait of unadaptability has not been reported previously.
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