Perkins, H. Wesley. 1994. "The Contextual Effect of Secular Norms on Religiosity as Moderator of Student Alcohol and Other Drug Use." In M. Lynn and D. Moberg (eds.), Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, Vol. 6, pp. 187-208.
Previous studies suggest that religiosity’s effect in moderating youthful drug use is salient only because wider secular and peer norms do not already provide clear normative proscriptions.  Yet variations in the secular norms surrounding drug use among students have been largely ignored in testing this claim.  If the lack of secular controls is what contextually enables religiosity’s restrictive impact, then normative secular constraints on drug use in a particular setting through both actual and perceived peer norms should be important factors limiting the degree of religious influence.  This prediction is tested with survey data collected on drug use, attitudes, and perceptions of peer norms for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens in an undergraduate population in two distinct time periods (1982, N = 1,514 and 1989-91, N = 1,510).  Support for a contextual effect of secular norms on the association between religiosity and drug use/attitudes is found for males but not for females.  Implications of this gender difference are discussed.