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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Alcohol Milestones, Risk Factors, and Religion/Spirituality in Young Adult Women

The alcoholism research literature has long reported a significant, reliable, and inverse association between alcohol use disorders and religion/spirituality (R/S), and this is also evident in the period of highest risk—adolescence and young adulthood. In the treatment area, both clinical and mutual-help programs for alcohol use disorders often include a spiritual component, and outcome studies validate the efficacy of such programs. Even so, the alcoholism–R/S relationship is little understood.

The current study examined data from an existing sample of 4,002 female adolescents/young adults and their families. Data analyses examined five demographic, nine R/S, and eight risk-factor variables as predictors of five alcohol milestones: initial drink, first intoxication, regular use, heavy consumption, and alcohol dependence.

Results affirmed the known association between alcoholism risk factors and alcohol use milestones and also found moderate to strong associations between most R/S variables and these risk factors and milestones. A multivariate model simultaneously examining both sets of variables found that specific risk factors and specific R/S variables remained significant predictors of alcohol use milestones after accounting for all other variables. Mediation and moderation tests did not find evidence that R/S accounted for or qualified the relationship between alcohol risk factors and alcohol milestones.

This study confirmed the multidimensional role of R/S influences within the etiological network of alcoholism risk and protective factors in adolescents/young adults and found R/S dimensions to be independent and substantial influences on alcohol use disorders rather than mediators or moderators of other risks.

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