Culture and Health

Associations of arts and cultural engagement with substance use trajectories in adolescence and early adulthood

A latent growth curve analysis of the Add Health cohort

The study investigated the effects of participation in cultural activities on the reduction of the risk of substance use in adolescence in a group of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, by measuring group participation and weekly engagement in artistic and cultural activities. Positive initial results were found, with a lower likelihood of alcohol intoxication and tobacco use correlating with greater involvement in arts and cultural activities. However, in the subsequent trends, these differences diminished and no association with marijuana use was found. Similarly, greater involvement in weekly hobbies was correlated with a lower likelihood of substance use, although the differences narrowed over time. In conclusion, artistic and cultural engagement may offer protection against substance use during adolescence, but further research is needed to better understand this relationship.