Among older youth transitioning from the foster care system, this longitudinal study examined the association of religious and spiritual capital to substance use in the past year at age 19. Participants consisted of African American (N = 179) and White non-Hispanic (N = 133) older youth in foster care. Drawing from social capital theory, it was posited that religious service attendance (a proxy for religious capital) and belief in a spiritual force (a proxy for spiritual capital) would be inversely associated with substance use. Multiple logistic regression results indicated support for the first and second hypothesis for White foster youth only. Among White foster youth, more frequent religious service attendance and greater belief in a spiritual force were associated with a lower likelihood of illegal substance and polysubstance use. No association between religious or spiritual capital and substance use was found among African American foster youth. The findings underscore the importance of conducting spiritual assessments to help ensure older foster youth who have strong religious or spiritual orientations are in environments where they are accommodated and supported.
- foster care
- social capital
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science