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November 2021

Religiosity, sensation seeking, and alcohol/drug use in denominational and gender contexts

Author(s): Bell, N. J., Peek, C. W., Sun, S. W.

Journal/Book: J Drug Issues. 1999; 29: Florida State Univ School Criminology Criminal Justice, PO Box 66696, Tallahassee, FL 32313-6696, USA. J Drug Issues Inc. 75-90.

Abstract: Well documented though they may be, the linkages between religiosity and risk behaviors such as substance use are not well understood. Arousal theory contends that these linkages are due to selective factors in religious participation rather than to religious influences: those most likely to engage in risk behaviors-sensation seekers-are less likely to have church affiliations. Issues addressed in this research were: (a) the importance of sensation seeking, and the interaction of sensation seeking and religiosity, in explaining the relationships between religiosity and the use of both legal and illegal substances; and (b) the variations in these relationships as a function of denominational and gender contexts. Employing a sample of 526 college student respondents, we found no support for arousal theory predictions nor for moderating effects of denominational and gender contexts. Religiosity, sensation seeking, denominational affiliation, and gender were relatively independent predictors of substance use, with their importance varying dependent upon type of substance and specific indicator of use (amount versus grade of first use).

Note: Article Bell NJ, Texas Tech Univ, Dept Human Dev & Family Studies, Lubbock,TX 79409 USA


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