Religion is good, belief is better: religion, religiosity, and substance use among young Swiss men

Subst Use Misuse. 2013 Sep;48(12):1085-98. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.799017.


We examined the influence of religious denomination (RD) and religiosity/spirituality on licit and illicit substance use beyond the potential impact of parental variables. Data from a representative sample of Swiss men (n = 5,387) approximately 20 years old were collected between August 2010 and November 2011. We asked single item questions about RD and religious self-description (RSD) (including aspects of spirituality). Alcohol use, smoking, and illicit drug use was measured as outcome variables. Logistic regressions (adjusting for parenting and socioeconomic background) revealed that religiosity/spirituality was inversely associated with substance use and that it was more strongly associated than denomination. RD, particularly having no denomination, was independently associated with the use of most substances. The study's limitations, and the implications for future work are noted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Culture*
  • Drug Users / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / psychology
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Spirituality*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult


  • Illicit Drugs