To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Religiosity, Heavy Alcohol Use, and Vicarious Learning Networks Among Adolescents in the United States

Previous research has found that religiosity may protect against risky alcohol and drug use behaviors among adolescents, but the social mechanics underpinning the relationship are not well understood.

This study examined the relationship between religiosity, heavy drinking, and social norms among U.S. adolescents aged 12 to 17 years, using the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (
n = 14,556). Based on a vicarious learning networks theoretical perspective, the effect of religiosity on heavy drinking behavior was hypothesized to be exerted indirectly through the norms of key reference groups in the social network (close friends and parents).

Support was found for reference group norms as one underlying mechanism of the religiosity–alcohol relationship. Religiosity and nonpermissive drinking norms of parents, close friends, and peers maintained a strong protective association with adolescent heavy drinking.

Supplementary analyses elaborated on the role of competing and complementary normative orientations among reference groups in the social network.

Read Full Abstract

Request Reprint E-Mail: