Relations Among Religiosity, Age of Self-Identification as Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual, and Alcohol Use Among College Students

William R. Corbin, Thai Q. Ong, Charlie Champion, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Research indicates that lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth are at increased risk for heavy drinking relative to their heterosexual peers. One possible contributing factor is that religiosity fails to provide the significant protection for LGB youth that it provides in general population samples. Although prior studies provide some support for this hypothesis, there is little research on the reasons that religiosity may fail to protect against heavy drinking among LGB youth. The current study addressed this question by examining relations among religiosity, age of self-identification as LGB, and alcohol use in a sample of 162 young adults self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or questioning. Age of self-identification was conceptualized as an indicator of stress or internal conflict between religious beliefs and selfidentification. We hypothesized that higher levels of religiosity would be associated with a later age of identification as LGB, which, in turn, would contribute to heavier drinking. Path analyses conducted in Mplus provided support for this hypothesis, with higher levels of religiosity indirectly contributing to increased alcohol use through later age of self-identification. Whereas additional studies directly assessing stress associated with the self-identification process are needed, the results of this study suggest that religiosity may serve as a risk, rather than protective, factor among LGB youth. The development of religious support groups specifically for LGB youth may help these individuals reconcile their religious beliefs with their emerging sexual identities, thereby allowing them to derive some of the same benefits that heterosexual youth derive from religious beliefs and practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020

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Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • College
  • Religiosity
  • Self-identification
  • Sexual minority

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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