Religiousness and Levels of Hazardous Alcohol Use: A Latent Profile Analysis

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Prior person-centered research has consistently identified a subgroup of highly religious participants that uses significantly less alcohol when compared to the other subgroups. The construct of religious motivation is absent from existing examinations of the nuanced combinations of religiousness dimensions within persons, and alcohol expectancy valuations have yet to be included as outcome variables. Variable-centered approaches have found religious motivation and alcohol expectancy valuations to play a protective role against individuals’ hazardous alcohol use. The current study examined latent religiousness profiles and hazardous alcohol use in a large, multisite sample of ethnically diverse college students. The sample consisted of 7412 college students aged 18–25 (M age = 19.77, SD age = 1.61; 75 % female; 61 % European American). Three latent profiles were derived from measures of religious involvement, salience, and religious motivations:Quest-Intrinsic Religiousness (highest levels of salience, involvement, and quest and intrinsic motivations; lowest level of extrinsic motivation), Moderate Religiousness (intermediate levels of salience, involvement, and motivations) and Extrinsic Religiousness (lowest levels of salience, involvement, and quest and intrinsic motivations; highest level of extrinsic motivation). TheQuest-Intrinsic Religiousness profile scored significantly lower on hazardous alcohol use, positive expectancy outcomes, positive expectancy valuations, and negative expectancy valuations, and significantly higher on negative expectancy outcomes, compared to the other two profiles. The Extrinsic andModerate Religiousness profiles did not differ significantly on positive expectancy outcomes, negative expectancy outcomes, negative expectancy valuations, or hazardous alcohol use. The results advance existing research by demonstrating that the protective influence of religiousness on college students’ hazardous alcohol use may involve high levels on both quest andintrinsic religious motivation.