Adolescent Substance Use: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference?

25 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2008

See all articles by Daniel Suryadarma

Daniel Suryadarma

Australian National University (ANU) - Arndt-Corden Department of Economics; SMERU Research Institute

Date Written: March 1, 2008


The positive effect of Catholic schooling on academic success is widely recognised. In this paper, I investigate whether there are additional benefits to attending Catholic schools. Specifically, I look at whether adolescents attending Catholic high schools have lower smoking and drinking rates and, among those who are using those substances, whether the intensity is different compared to those attending non-Catholic schools. I find that attending Catholic schools reduce the probability to smoke, but not to consume alcohol. Overall, Catholic school students have a much higher likelihood to be neither drinking nor smoking. Among those who are smoking, Catholic school students consume fewer cigarettes, although there is no discernible difference among those who are drinking. Hence, beyond equipping students with superior academic ability, Catholic schools also deter substance use, especially cigarette.

Keywords: Catholic school, adolescent, tobacco, alcohol, Australia

JEL Classification: I10, I20, I21

Suggested Citation

Suryadarma, Daniel, Adolescent Substance Use: Do Catholic Schools Make a Difference? (March 1, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Suryadarma (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Arndt-Corden Department of Economics ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

SMERU Research Institute ( email )

Jl. Pandeglang No. 30
Jakarta, 10310
62 21 31936336 (Phone)
62 21 31930850 (Fax)


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