Type of Document Dissertation Author Eliassen, Arthur Henry URN etd-07072006-153209 Title Religiosity, Physical Disability, and the Social Distribution of Problematic Drinking in an Aging Population Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Sociology, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title R. Jay Turner Committee Chair Clarence C. Gravlee Committee Member Donald A. Lloyd Committee Member John Taylor Committee Member Keywords
- Activity Limitations
- Health Disparity
- Substance Use
- Social Epidemiology
Date of Defense 2006-07-03 Availability unrestricted Abstract
A growing body of research suggests that religious involvement may be protective with respect to a wide variety of health outcomes. In this dissertation, I investigate the conditions under which this might apply to the likelihood of risky drinking associated with disability. I use an ethnically diverse sample of 559 community-dwelling adults confirmed as having physical disabilities, and an otherwise similar comparison sample of 1,086 non-disabled respondents, from Miami-Dade County, Florida. These stratified random samples include a roughly equal representation of Cubans, other Hispanics, African Americans, and non-Hispanic whites, and of men and women, ranging in age from 18 to 93.
I first examine past-year prevalence of risky drinking, defined according to NIAAA recommended limits, by disability status, levels of religious involvement (variously measured), and race/ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and age. Next, I map out mean levels of religious involvement by disability status and by race/ethnicity, gender, SES, and age. I find that, in general, physical disability raises, whereas religiosity lowers, the prevalence of risky drinking. Differences in both regards are most acute among African Americans, who display the lowest rates of risky drinking among non-disabled but the highest among disabled respondents. Women and older respondents generally exhibit lower rates of risky drinking despite the more stringent NIAAA standards applied to them. Women, African Americans, and older respondents tend to report the highest religious involvement regardless of disability status. Not surprisingly, most differences in religious involvement across disability status involve service attendance.
Logistic regression models predict log odds of risky drinking (versus no risky drinking) in the previous year by disability status (disabled or not), religious involvement, and controls for race/ethnicity, gender, SES, and age. Religious involvement independently predicts lower log odds in Cubans and African Americans. Disability, though, predicts higher log oddsóbut only among African Americans. Higher service attendance reduces log odds of risky drinking more among non-disabled than among disabled African Americans. Otherwise, these results provide no evidence that religiosity influences the link between disability and risky drinking. Additional research is needed to explicate how specific types of socioenvironmental stressors and psychosocial resources might elucidate these findings.
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