Examining Attachment to God and Health Risk-Taking Behaviors in College Students

J. Barrett, K.D. Horton, Ch.G. Ellison, A. Loukas, D.L. Downey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Drawing on insights from attachment theory, this study examined whether three types of attachment to God—secure, avoidant, and anxious—were associated with health-risk behaviors, over and above the effects of religious attendance, peer support, and demographic covariates, in a sample of 328 undergraduate college students. Contrary to prior theory, secure attachment to God is not inversely associated with recent alcohol or marijuana use, or substance use prior to last sexual intercourse. Instead, avoidant and anxious attachment to God are associated with higher levels of drinking; anxious attachment to God is associated with marijuana use; and avoidant attachment to God is associated with substance use prior to last sexual intercourse. These patterns are genderspecific; problematic attachment to God is linked with negative outcomes solely among men.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-566
JournalJournal of Religion and Health
Volume51
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Keywords

  • gender-differences
  • social support
  • substance use
  • emerging adulthood
  • binge drinking
  • alcohol-use
  • religiosity
  • metaanalysis
  • stress
  • love

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