Faculty Publications


Family dinners and substance use and sexual activity in a prohibitionist university population

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2013


The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between frequency of family dinners when they were at home and the use of alcohol, marijuana and sexual activity in a Church affiliated college listed as one of the 10 most international and diverse student bodies in the U.S. that prohibits the use of alcohol and drugs. Methods: Survey data were collected using anonymous surveys from a representative sample of classes at the university. A total of 750 completed surveys were collected. The overall relationship between frequency dinners and substance use behavior and sexual activity was examined overall and by gender and ethnic group. Results: Analysis focused on the overall relationship between family dinners and ever use alcohol or marijuana or engaged in sexual activity (if not married). Overall ORs were .91 for both alcohol (p=.01) as well as marijuana (p=.06) and .87 (p<.001) for ever sex. There were major differences by gender and ethnic group. For females, the OR for all three behaviors was approximately .86 (p<02). Further investigation showed that the OR was the strongest for Caucasian females; the OR for Ever Alcohol was .82 and for both Ever Marijuana and Ever Sex .76. All relationships were at the .02 level. Conclusions: The analysis showed a significant relationship between frequency of family dinners and lower odds of ever use of alcohol or marijuana and lower odds of sexual activity in this college population. The data showed that the relationship between family dinners was strongest for Caucasian females.

Journal Title

American Public Health Association Annual Conference

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