Religious Identity and the Use of Alcohol and Marijuana in a Sample of Diverse Young Adults


Religious identity and religiosity are associated with a lower risk of alcohol and other substance use among middle and high school students 1-6 . However, less is known about the influence of religion on substance use among diverse young adults (ages 18-25). 1, 7 Methods: The present study compared the rates of binge drinking and marijuana use among religious and non-religious diverse young adults (n=113). Participants were interviewed and asked about their demographic characteristics as well as whether they engaged in binge drinking or marijuana use in the past 30 days. Chi-square tests were used. Results: A significantly greater proportion of non-religious young adults (93%; n=40) used marijuana in the past month as compared to those identifying as religious [74.3%, n=52; x 2 (1, n=113)=6.18, p<.05]. There was no significant difference in the rate of binge drinking among religious (71.4%; n=50) and non-religious (60.5%; n=26) participants. Conclusions: In our sample of diverse young adults, the protective effect of religious identity was more pronounced with respect to marijuana use as compared to binge drinking which may have been due to the legal status of marijuana and other potential moderators including ones related to religiosity.