Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Nora Charles, PhD

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Ashley Batastini, PhD

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Lucas Keefer, PhD

Committee Member 3 School



The adolescent period is one of growth, increased autonomy, and increased risk-taking. Common examples of these risky behaviors include substance use and engagement in delinquent activity. Adolescent substance use and delinquent behavior can lead to a range of negative outcomes, some of which carry into adulthood. These negative consequences are especially evident among at-risk adolescents such as those who have dropped out of school or who come into contact with the juvenile justice system, as these youth often demonstrate higher rates of substance use and delinquent behavior. Understanding the nature and development of these problem behaviors is essential to developing appropriate prevention and intervention tools. In the current study, adolescents’ self-control abilities and religiosity were evaluated as predictors of substance use and delinquency. For the purposes of this study, religiosity was defined as a general valuing of religious or spiritual identity (i.e., religiosity is not restricted to Christianity). Adolescent personality domains were also evaluated in relation to substance use and delinquency, as many theories indicate the importance of personality in the development of such problem behaviors. The sample included a local group of at-risk adolescents who have faced academic, educational, vocational, and/or behavioral complications. Results contribute to a greater understanding of the development of problem behaviors during adolescence, especially among at-risk youths.