Exploring college students' relationship with God as a potential mediator between religious behaviors and sexual and alcohol risk behavior among college students
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Many college students frequently engage in two behaviors - sexual activity and alcohol use - that can potentially lead to significant negative consequences, such as contracting a sexually transmitted infection or personal injury, respectively. College students also tend to be a population with strong religious beliefs and regular engagement in religious behaviors. Some research indicates that more frequent engagement in religious behavior is associated with less risky behavior (e.g., initiation of sex, fewer sexual partners, decreased alcohol use) among college students. However, previous research is mixed on why this association exists. The current study explored “relationship with God” as a religious construct that potentially mediates the relationship between religious behaviors and alcohol and sexual risk behaviors (lifetime and last 3 months). The sample consisted of 406 University of Missouri-Kansas City students. Data were analyzed using SPSS Statistics Version 19 and AMOS Version 18. Findings indicated participants' increased engagement in religious behaviors was significantly associated with stronger beliefs that God influenced their alcohol use decision-making, which was in turn, associated with less alcohol use in the last three months. This finding suggested that God control beliefs partially mediated the protective relationship between religious behaviors and recent alcohol use. There were no significant relationships between relationship with God variables and lifetime alcohol use and lifetime or recent sexual risk. Future research should continue to explore this area with larger samples that allow for sex and race/ethnicity comparisons regarding relationship with God and risk behavior. Interventions for reducing college students' alcohol use may consider incorporating messages that discuss God control beliefs.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- Review of literature -- Methodology -- Results -- Discussion -- Appendix