Religious practices can help curb college drinking
College students who have religious roots may consume less alcohol than their peers, according to a new study.
But the findings of the research, conducted by a Michigan State University scholar, suggest that temperance may have less to do with the inherent moral codes of religious life and more to do with how religious practices alleviate stress.
Prayer and meditation reduce drinking
After surveying 129 college students - and their parents - Zaje Harrell, MSU assistant professor of psychology, found that students who utilized religious practices like praying and meditation drank less frequently and less heavily than their peers.
Furthermore, students with parents who used religious practices to help cope with stress were shown to drink less, suggesting that parental influence carries on even when kids are away at school.
"Parents face a lot of day-to-day stressors and what they do to cope with these stressors appears to be related to outcomes in their children," Harrell said.
Religion as a protective factor
Harrell predicted that students with religious roots would have a stronger protective barrier against the temptations of college drinking, and his theory proved true. However, he also found that social support through religious community did not provide the same protective barrier. Parental influence, it seems, is still a key factor in helping shape student's perceptions about alcohol use.
"If you cope with...stressors in a way that is effective, it can show up in your children's lives in ways you wouldn't necessarily think."
Source: Science Daily