Religiosity and substance use among Asian American college students: Moderated effects of race and acculturation

Jeremy W. Luk, Rebecca L. Emery, Kenny A. Karyadi, Julie Patock-Peckham, Kevin M. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Religiosity is a well-established protective factor against substance use among Caucasians, but limited research has examined its role among Asian Americans. The purposes of this study were (1) to examine whether the associations between religiosity and substance use outcomes differed across Caucasians and Asian Americans, and (2) to test whether acculturation moderated the associations between religiosity and substance use outcomes among Asian Americans. Method: We utilized a large and diverse cross-sectional sample of 839 college students to test whether race moderated the associations between religiosity and substance use outcomes (Study 1). We then replicated and extended our findings in a separate college sample of 340 Asian Americans, and examined the moderating role of acculturation on the associations between religiosity and substance use outcomes (Study 2). Results: Controlling for age, gender, and paternal education, religiosity was protective against alcohol use, alcohol problems, and marijuana use among Caucasians but was unrelated to these outcomes among Asian Americans in Study 1. In Study 2, religiosity was protective against alcohol problems only at high levels of acculturation. Moreover, religiosity was protective against marijuana use at both high and mean levels of acculturation, but not at low levels of acculturation. Conclusions: The protective effects of religiosity on alcohol use and problems varied across Caucasian and Asian American college students, and religiosity protected against alcohol problems and marijuana use only among more acculturated Asian Americans. These findings underscore the need to examine culturally-specific correlates of substance use outcomes among Asian Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-149
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and alcohol dependence
Volume130
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2013

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Keywords

  • Acculturation
  • Alcohol problems
  • Asian American
  • Marijuana use
  • Religiosity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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