Some Implications of Denominational Heterogeneity and Church Attendance for Alcohol Consumption Among Hispanics

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This article evaluates complementary perspectives on the relationship between religion and alcohol among Hispanics. In particular, it examines whether religion may be related to alcohol consumption through two mechanisms, one deriving primarily from doctrinally specific norms, and the other a denominationally independent effect of social integration. The basic premise is that these mechanisms may operate in relative independence. Thus, the article argues that in a fully specified model, variations in alcohol use that are associated with prohibitive norms can be distinguished from those that are associated with membership in a religious community (irrespective of its alcohol norms). The former effect is unique to members of Protestant denominations that object to the use of alcohol; the latter also accrues to the Catholics. A separate, exploratory analysis looks at whether these effects differ by gender. The results indicate that both mechanisms reduce the likelihood of alcohol consumption, but that the doctrinally specific normative one is more powerful. Furthermore, it appears that alcohol-use norms are more salient for men than for women, although the findings are not as robust as expected.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Julie M. Ford is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at SUNY–Brockport, Brockport, NY 14420–2955., Email:

Publication date: June 1, 2006

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