Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Bradley A. Green

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Joye C. Anestis

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Randolph C. Arnau

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Michael B. Madson

Committee Member 4 Department


Committee Member 5

Richard S. Mohn

Committee Member 5 Department

Educational Research and Administration


Alcohol misuse is recognized as one of the most pressing health hazards for college students. Previous research has supported a protective relationship between religiousness and problematic alcohol use, but it is less clear what aspects of religiousness are protective and through what mechanisms its effect is exerted. The current study utilized a prospective design to accomplish three primary goals: (1) Delineate the protective effects of religious motivation and public participation on alcohol use and alcohol-related problems in a sample of undergraduates at a large public university in the southeastern United States, (2) determine whether effects were maintained long-term, and (3) discern whether the protective effect was mediated by indirect effects through perceived peer drinking norms. Intrinsic religious motivation demonstrated significant negative direct effects on alcohol use and related problems concurrently at baseline and prospectively approximately three months later, as well as indirectly through its impact on perceived peer norms. Effects of extrinsic religious motivation and public religious participation were inconsistent. Findings are discussed in the context of the existing literature and theories posed to explain the protective effects of religiousness. Study limitations and directions for future research are discussed.