TitleExploring religious mechanisms for healthy alcohol use: religious messages and drinking among Korean women in California.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsAyers, JW, C Hofstetter, R, Hughes, SC, Irvin, VL, D Sim, EKang, Hovell, MF
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Date Published2009 Nov
KeywordsYoung Adult

OBJECTIVE: This research identifies social reinforcers within religious institutions associated with alcohol consumption among Korean women in California. METHOD: Data were drawn from telephone interviews with female adults (N = 591) selected from a random sampling of persons in California with Korean surnames during 2007. Approximately 70% of attempted interviews were completed, with 92% conducted in Korean. Respondents were asked about any lifetime drinking (yes/no), drinking rate (typical number of drinks consumed on drinking days among current drinkers), and messages discouraging "excessive drinking" from religious leaders or congregants. Bivariable and multivariable regressions were used for analysis. RESULTS: Approximately 70.4% of women reported any lifetime drinking, and drinkers drank a mean (SD) of 1.10 (1.22) drinks on drinking days. About 30.8% reported any exposure to religious leaders' messages discouraging excessive drinking, and 28.2% reported any exposure to similar messages from congregants. Each congregant's message was statistically significantly associated with a 5.1% lower probability (odds ratio = 0.775, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.626, 0.959) of any lifetime drinking. also, each congregant's message was associated with a 13.8% (B = -0.138; 95% CI: -0.306, 0.029) lower drinking rate, which was statistically significant after adjusting for covariates using a one-tailed test. Exposure to leaders' messages was not statistically significantly associated with any lifetime drinking or drinking rate. CONCLUSIONS: Social reinforcement in the form of religious messages may be one mechanism by which religious institutions influence drinking behaviors. For Korean women, messages from congregants had a unique impact beyond the traditional religiosity indicators. These social mechanisms provide public health interventionists with religious pathways to improve drinking behaviors.