The Impact of Psychological Wellbeing on Alcohol Use

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Do happy people drink less alcohol? The Impact of Psychological Wellbeing on Alcohol Use: Examining the role of Religiousness.


Alcohol use in the student population is a well-documented phenomenon (e.g. Turrisi, Mallett, Mastroleo, & Larimer, 2006). A plethora of psychological research investigating various factors may predict the extent of an individual’s drinking behaviour. One such factor is religiousness, which includes the belief in and practice of any established religion. The research in this field also takes into account “other” spiritual orientations such as agnosticism and atheism. Studies have consistently found that low religiousness in students is associated with heavier alcohol use (Wells, 2010; Koenig, 2001;
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(Ryff, 1989).
Happiness is not the only indicator of psychological wellbeing. There are some others such as life satisfaction (e.g. Neugarten, Havighurst, &Tobin, 1961; Wood; Wylie, & Sheator, 1969), emotional and mental health , or subjective wellbeing (Kozma, Stones, & McNeil, 1991). These concepts have been used synonymously with psychological wellbeing, however, even though they are related with psychological wellbeing, they are not identical and should not define psychological wellbeing (Stull, 1987).
Psychological W ellbeing is the combination of both healthy mental functioning and a well-lived life, i.e., prudential happiness (Ryff & Singer, 1998). Ryff (1989) defined psychological wellbeing by operationalizing six-theory based on dimensions of psychological wellbeing such as self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, positive relations with others, environmental mastery and autonomy.
1. Self-acceptance is the most common model of wellbeing. It defines an individual’s characteristics of optimal functioning. It is about the individual’s positive attitudes toward oneself, maturity, and positive psychological functioning. It is crucial for mental health.
2. Personal growth is defined to include an individual’s self-development, openness to new experiences, a sense of realizing self- potential, self-knowledge and effectiveness as well as improving self behaviour
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