Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Melinda Goldner




religion, secularization, mass media, youth


This study examines the relationship between secular behaviors and religious behaviors among youth in the United States. While there is no doubt that these two things are intrinsically linked, the nature of that relationship has been predominantly studied in the direction of religion affecting secular behavior. However, in today’s society with secularization and the prevalence of the mass media, it makes more sense to examine the relationship the opposite way and see how secular behavior affects religiosity. Using the National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) dataset and change in change modeling, causality can be established showing how behaviors such as drinking, smoking, and marijuana usage affect religiosity in youth. Smoking had the most wide-reaching effect on youth religiosity, followed by drinking. Marijuana usage did not seem to affect religiosity at all. These behaviors are all classified as deviant behaviors though, and while there are significant relationships between them and religiosity measures, the trends seen also mimic frequency tables of only the religiosity measures over time, bringing into doubt just how much change can actually be accounted for by these deviant behaviors. Non-deviant secular behaviors relating to the vast shifts in lifestyle over the past fifteen years need to also be examined for their effects on religiosity to see if consumption of media and popular culture is a bigger culprit of secularization than deviant behavior is among youth.