Religiosity as a protective factor against alcohol and substance use among first-year students in a South African University
Religiosity modulates many aspects of human behaviour. However, there is paucity of empirical studies examining the protective effects of religiosity on alcohol and substance use among first-year students in South African universities. This study therefore assessed the protective effects of religiosity on alcohol and substance use among first-year students in a South African university. A total of 348 first-year students were purposively sampled for the study which lasted for 30 days. Results revealed that alcohol consumption, tobacco smoking, use of cannabis and any substance were 60.1%, 31.5%, 23.3%, and 36.9% respectively. High religiosity scores conferred protectives effects on alcohol consumption, (OR=0.33, p<0.01), tobacco (0.23, p<0.01), and on the use of any substance (0.38, p<.021). Being a male student, residing with parents and living in an urban area were associated with increased odds of alcohol use. Age and fathers’ educational level were predictive of likelihood to use tobacco. The use of marijuana was associated with being a male student. Use of any substance was associated with being a male student and residing in the urban area. The current findings suggest that religiosity had restrictive role on alcohol consumption and substances use. Parental factors underscored the use of substances among the study population.
Keywords: Religiosity, alcohol, substance use, protective factors, university students