Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Charles R. Carlson

Abstract

Alcohol use in young adults requires continued attention due to the significant number of problems related to alcohol consumption. The alcohol use literature has explored a variety of constructs related to alcohol use in young adults including religiousness. The aims of the current study were to demonstrate the relationships between religiousness and alcohol use, explore the associations between religiousness and descriptive drinking norms, replicate the relationships between drinking norms and alcohol outcomes, and explore the mediating role of descriptive drinking norms on the relationships between religiousness and alcohol outcomes. Three hundred and thirtythree undergraduate students (M=19.72 years old; SD=1.1) completed questionnaires assessing religiousness, descriptive drinking norms, alcohol consumption, and alcoholrelated consequences. Religious commitment and comfort were inversely associated with alcohol consumption and alcohol-related consequences; religious strain was positively associated with alcohol-related consequences but not significantly related to alcohol consumption. Religious commitment and comfort were inversely associated with drinking norms for ones close friends; religious commitment was also inversely related to drinking norms for the average person his/her age. The significance of the relationships between drinking norms and alcohol outcomes depended on the specific drinking norm target; however the majority of drinking norms were positively associated with personal drinking behavior. Finally, perceptions of close friends drinking behavior at least partially mediated the relationships between religious commitment and comfort and alcohol outcomes. This study contributed to the current literature by examining multiple aspects of religiousness and alcohol use, exploring the role of descriptive drinking norms, and empirically testing a theoretical model explaining the role of religiousness in alcohol use.

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