The Role of Religiousness in the Opposition to Drug Use

Stelios Stylianou, Intercollege

Arguments favoring the formal or informal control of drug use can be classified as paternalistic or moralistic based on the normative principles that underlie them. This paper investigates how and to what degree these arguments are shaped by religiousness. Empirical data were obtained about perceptions and attitudes regarding the use of six common drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, heroin, LSD, and marijuana) using an electronic mail survey of university students. A series of models are estimated testing various hypotheses about the causal structure of four constructs: religiousness, perceptions of self-harm (the perceptive component of paternalistic arguments), perceptions of immorality (the perceptive component of moralistic arguments), and control attitudes (the degree to which an individual favors the control of a behavior). Preliminary findings show that religiousness affects control attitudes toward drug use indirectly through perceptions of immorality.

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Updated 05/20/2006