Date of Conferral
Dr. Richard Palmer
Historically, the Jewish faith has used alcohol in rituals and religious holidays in which adolescents are permitted to fully participate and this exposure to alcohol may influence attitudes and beliefs about underage drinking among Jewish adolescents. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a relationship between the Jewish religion and attitudes toward alcohol among Jewish adolescents. The theoretical frameworks, on which this study was based, were the social bond theory and the social development theory. Each of these theories indicates that community is important to the individual. Using a cross sectional study design, 160 adolescents participated in a survey that was administered by paper during a free period or lunchtime. ANOVA and linear regression were used to determine if there was a relationship between religion, gender, age, and attitudes toward alcohol. According to study findings, there was no significant relationship between religious affiliation or religious service attendance and attitudes towards the use of alcohol. However, there was a significant relationship between gender and attitudes against drinking and between age and the positive attitudes for drinking. These findings may spur positive social change at the community level. Yeshivas may review with Jewish adolescents the distinction between using alcohol for rituals/ceremonies and using alcohol socially, and the consequences of underage drinking. Future studies should include more participants in the different sects and denominations to get a more complete picture of the Jewish community.