Racial Differences in Co-Occurring Substance Use and Serious Psychological Distress: The Roles of Marriage and Religiosity

Celia C. Lo, Texas Woman's University
Kimberly A. Tenorio, Florida State College at Jacksonville
Tyrone Cheng, University of Alabama


The study examined how marriage and religiosity can protect members of certain racial/ethnic groups against co-occurring substance use and serious psychological distress. Using the national dataset 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, we analyzed data via multinomial logistic regression, observing several important results. Our findings generally support the deprivation-compensation thesis, in that religiosity elevates the mental health of racial/ethnic minority individuals more than that of Whites. We also found, however, that race/ethnicity moderates effects of education and poverty on the co-occurring behaviors, with Whites' mental health benefiting more from wealth and education than Blacks' or Hispanics' mental health did.