Year of Publication

2016

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Charles Carlson

Abstract

High-risk behaviors such as illicit drug usage and risky sexual practices have been increasing over the years among underage college students. Research has indicated that religious beliefs and religious behaviors interact to predict risky alcohol use in underage college students, with students having higher religious beliefs but lower religious behaviors being the most at risk. The current study hypothesized that this interaction would predict risky drug usage and sexual practices in underage college students in the same way as it does unsafe alcohol use. Underage students (N=211) at the University of Kentucky completed surveys online. Results indicated that religious beliefs and religious behaviors interacted to predict number of drugs tried, drug consumption frequency, risky sexual practices in the past three months, and lifetime number of sexual partners, with those students having higher religious beliefs but lower religious behaviors being the most at risk. Religious behaviors negatively predicted current number of sexual partners. Overall findings indicate that the group of students with higher religious beliefs but lower religious behaviors most at risk for alcohol use are also more likely to engage in risky drug usage and sexual practices. Future research is needed to explore the mechanisms leading to these outcomes.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2016.413

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