Religious Involvement, Financial Strain, and Poly-Drug Use: Exploring the Moderating Role of Meaning in Life
Background: Research indicates that greater involvement in religion is associated with lower rates of substance use and misuse. However, religion is a complex construct that can be assessed in many ways. The purpose of this study is to explore a dimension of religion that has not been evaluated in previous research on poly-drug use: a religious sense of meaning in life. Objectives: It is hypothesized that a religious sense of meaning in life will offset (i.e., moderate) the effects of chronic financial strain on poly-drug use. In order to instill greater confidence in the findings, the moderating role of a religious sense of meaning in life is compared and contrasted with a general sense of meaning in life. Methods: The data are provided by a recent nationwide survey of adults of all ages in the United States (N = 2,622). The relationships among the core study constructs are evaluated with ordinary least squares multiple regression. Results: The results indicate that a greater religious sense of meaning in life buffers the effects of financial strain on poly-drug use. In contrast, a general sense of meaning in life does not appear to perform a similar stress-buffering function. Conclusions/Importance: The findings from this study are important because they provide greater insight into the potentially important ways in which involvement in religion may be associated with poly-drug use.