The Influence of Moral Ideology on Religiosity, Moral Emotions, and Drinking Behaviors



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Objective: The current study examined prospective relationships between religious affiliation, feelings of guilt and shame, ethical orientation (relativism and idealism), alcohol consumption and quantity of heavy episodic drinking. Participants: Three hundred and seventy-one students attending a large, public university in Texas. Method: Electronic surveys assessed predictors of college alcohol use. Comparisons were made between Christians and Non-theist participants on alcohol consumption and binge drinking, controlling for guilt, shame, relativism and idealism. Results: Christians drank more than Non-theists. Relativism was positively related to quantity of binge drinking episodes. Shame had no effect among Christians on alcohol consumption, but shame had a negative effect on alcohol consumption among Non-theists. Guilt had no effect among Christians on binge drinking, but guilt had a negative effect on binge drinking among Non-theists. There was a relativism by guilt interaction on binge drinking, with guilt having a negative effect on binge drinking only among individuals high in relativism. Conclusions: Data are supportive of continued investigation of the effects of ethical orientation and moral emotions on collegiate alcohol consumption and binge drinking.



Guilt, Shame, Alcohol use, Binge drinking, Ethical beliefs, Idealism, Relativism, Religion, College Students