Religiosity as a mediating factor in alcohol use and alcohol related problems among students attending a historically black college (HBCU)

Anisah Bagasra, Kennesaw State University
Kurt Holzhausen, University of Maine
Mitchell B. Mackinem, Wingate University


Previous research suggests that students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) frequently have lower rates of drinking and alcohol-related problems. The etiology of such findings is still under debate although some research has suggested the African–American religious experience might account for the differences. The present study aims to provide a comprehensive picture of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and religiosity among HBCU students and to test the hypothesis that religiosity moderates problematic drinking behavior. The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT), the College Alcohol Problems Scale Revised (CAPS-R), the Religious Maturity Scale, and the Salience in Religious Commitment Scale was administered to 144 students at a small southern HBCU. We found that, overall, the subjects were moderate drinkers and experienced few alcohol-related problems. The relationship between religiosity and alcohol-related problems was complex and gender mediated that relationship. The results suggest that although religiosity may act as a buffer to alcohol abuse in some HBCU students, it cannot fully account for the differences in alcohol use between students at HBCUs and other institutions.