Spiritual Struggles and Problem Drinking: Are Younger Adults at Greater Risk than Older Adults?
Rosemead School of Psychology
Background: Although a good deal of research has assessed the positive effects that involvement in religion has on alcohol use, there is relatively little research on the negative aspects of religious life and alcohol problems. Objectives: This study has two objectives. The first is to see if spiritual struggles are associated with problem drinking. The second is to see if the relationship between spiritual struggles and problem drinking is stronger for younger than for older adults. Methods: The data come from a recent nationwide survey of adults of all ages who reside in the United States (N = 2142).The study was conducted in 2014. Problem drinking is assessed with the CAGE questionnaire. Results: The findings indicate that people who encounter more spiritual struggles are more likely to experience problem drinking. The relationship between spiritual struggles and problem drinking was stronger than the relationship between three other frequently used measures of religion and problem drinking (i.e., attendance at worship services, private prayer, and affiliation with Evangelical denominations). The results further reveal that spiritual struggles are associated with a greater risk of drinking problems among younger than among older individuals. Conclusions/Importance: Although many studies show that various facets of religion are associated with a lower risk of experiencing problems with alcohol the findings from the current study show that there are negative aspects of religious life that may be associated with a greater risk of having problems with alcohol.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages; Spiritual life
Substance Use & Misuse
DOI of Published Version
Hill, Peter C., "Spiritual Struggles and Problem Drinking: Are Younger Adults at Greater Risk than Older Adults?" (2017). Faculty Articles & Research. 508.