Priming effects of self-reported drinking and religiosity
Rodriguez, Lindsey M.
Foster, Dawn W.
MetadataShow full item record
Research has revealed negative associations between religiosity and alcohol consumption. Given these associations, the aim of the current research was to evaluate whether the order of assessing each construct might affect subsequent reports of the other. The present research provided an experimental evaluation of response biases of self-reported religiosity and alcohol consumption based on order of assessment. Participants (N = 301 undergraduate students) completed an online survey. Based on random assignment, religiosity was assessed either before or after questions regarding recent alcohol consumption. Social desirability bias was also measured. Results revealed a priming effect such that participants who answered questions about their religiosity prior to their alcohol consumption reported fewer drinks on their peak drinking occasions, drinking less on typical occasions, and drinking less frequently, even when controlling for social desirability and for the significant negative associations between their own religiosity and drinking. In contrast, assessment order was not significantly associated with religiosity. Results indicate priming religion results in reporting lower, but potentially more accurate, levels of health risk behaviors and that these effects are not simply the result of socially desirable responding. Results are interpreted utilizing several social–cognitive theories and suggest that retrospective self-reports of drinking may be more malleable than self-descriptions of religiosity. Implications and future directions are discussed.