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Monday, June 4, 2012

"To Believe or Not to Believe?" Religiosity, Spirituality, and Alcohol Use Among Hungarian Adolescents

A growing number of studies focus on the relationship between religiosity/spirituality and substance use, including drinking. Although these studies often find a negative association between religiosity and adolescent alcohol use, different religious variables may play an altering role in alcohol-related activities. The primary goal of the present study was to examine the relationship between a set of religious variables (religious denomination, church membership, religious attendance, praying, religiosity, spiritual beliefs, and well-being) and drinking patterns (current alcohol use, lifetime prevalence of drinking, and heavy episodic drinking) among a sample of Hungarian youth.

Data were collected among high school students (N = 592; ages between 14 and 17 years; 48.1% male) from a randomly selected set of schools in Szeged, Hungary, using a self-administered questionnaire and standardized procedures. Student participation was voluntary and confidential.

Despite a high level of alcohol use and a relatively low level of religiosity in the sample, we detected a relationship between the importance of religiousness/religious well-being and alcohol use, although religious denomination and affiliation were not significant correlates. Religious attendance and private praying were associated with lower odds of alcohol use among girls; boys who reported a belief in traditional religion were less likely to engage in alcohol use.

These exploratory results provide further details to a growing body of research showing that despite adolescents' low religious involvement, religiosity can play an important role in some youth's lives and may serve as a protective factor against alcohol use and misuse.

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