A number of risk factors have emerged as important correlates of adolescent substance use. In addition, research continues to focus on which factors act as mediators protecting adolescents from negative outcomes. One of these protective factors is religiosity, and the focus of this paper is to examine its role in the life of adolescents in postsocialist Hungary, where active religious participation was highly discouraged until a decade ago. The sample of adolescents (N=1240) consists of middle and high school students living in Szeged, Hungary. The calculated odds ratios for the relationship between religiosity, and other protective factors, and substance use revealed that smoking, drinking, and marijuana use among boys and marijuana use only among girls were related to religiosity. Group membership, for example, participation in school clubs, sports clubs, or religious groups, seems to be more important for boys compared with girls. A more careful examination of the protective role of religion in postsocialist Hungary could be extremely important in a country where both adult and adolescent smoking and alcohol use is among the highest in Europe. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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