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Religious salience reduced risk of alcohol, drug use for heterosexual but not LGB individuals – study

Religious salience reduced risk of alcohol use disorder, drug use, and drug use disorder for heterosexual, but not lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.

Photo by Edwin Andrade from Unsplash.com

One’s religious faith impacts one’s alcohol and/or drug use… though only if one’s heterosexual.

This is according to a study – “Association Between Religious Salience and Past-Year Substance Use by Sexual Identity and Sex Among Adults in the United States” by Victoria R. Votaw, Ethan S. Van, Alena Kuhlemeier, Felicia R. Tuchman, and Katie Witkiewitz – that appeared in LGBT Health.

Here, the researchers used data from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the US, with 41,216 adults included. Logistic regression models tested whether sexual identity and sex moderated the associations between religious salience (agreement on the importance of religious beliefs) and past-year alcohol and drug use and use disorders.

The researchers found:

  • religious salience reduced risk of alcohol use disorder, drug use, and drug use disorder for heterosexual, but not lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) individuals
  • three-way interactions indicated that religious salience was more protective against alcohol use and drug use and use disorder for bisexual men than bisexual women

“Heterosexism common in dominant religious institutions… might hamper the protective effect of religiosity on substance use for LGB individuals,” the researchers stressed, so that religious hatred of members of the LGBTQIA community may also need to be dealt with in tackling substance abuse among them.

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