Gender differences in the roles of religion and locus of control on alcohol use and smoking among African Americans

Cheryl L. Holt, David L. Roth, Jin Huang, Eddie M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: Spiritual health locus of control reflects a person’s beliefs about the role of a higher power in one’s health and can take an active or a passive perspective. The purpose of this study was to examine the moderating role of active and passive spiritual health locus of control beliefs on select health risk behaviors—alcohol use and smoking—in a national sample of African Americans. Method: A national U.S. probability sample of study participants (N = 2,370; 906 men; 1,464 women) completed a telephone survey assessing religious involvement, active and passive spiritual health locus of control beliefs, and alcohol consumption and smoking status. Because of previous research suggesting gender-specific associations among these variables, moderation analyses were conducted separately for men and women. Results: For women, higher religious behaviors were associated with less alcohol use, and this effect was more pronounced among those high in active spiritual health locus of control. For men, the combination of lower religious beliefs and higher passive spiritual health locus of control was associated with more alcohol consumption and more days of consuming five or more alcoholic drinks. No moderation effects were found for smoking. Conclusions: This study identified unique patterns of religious involvement and spiritual health locus of control beliefs that are associated with alcohol use, including heavy drinking, among African Americans. These findings have implications for pastoral counseling and other faith-based approaches for addressing heavy drinking in African Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-492
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Volume76
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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