They don’t call it a Bloody Mary for nothing.
A recent study conducted by the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences found a correlation between alcohol consumption, violence, and religious beliefs. In short, the godly are prone to pick a fight after a few pints.
“Oversimplifying—in many cases the more religious someone is, the more aggressive they will become after drinking alcohol,” Professor Peter R. Giancola, who led the study, said in a statement.
Giancola’s study attempted to isolate risk factors that can steer drunks into slobbering rage. Religiosity, which he defined as finding “meaning in the sacred,” was one of those factors.
The study’s 520 subjects—almost evenly split between men and women who hailed from central Kentucky—were scored on a scale of religiosity and then given either booze or a placebo. They were then administered electric shocks by a fictitious opponent during a game, and allowed to reciprocate those shocks to their opponent.
Interestingly, religious subjects were actually less agressive than others when they were sober. It was only when they got intoxicated that they grew more violent.
As with any preliminary research, the subject needs more study. And there are a number of other factors that can turn a happy drunk into Jack Torrance: High testosterone and low serotonin levels, drinking history, and extant psychological issues can all contribute. As Giancola wrote in 1999, “There is no single risk profile for intoxicated aggression.”
But that doesn’t let religiosity off the hook, psychologically speaking. A widely reported 2012 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that people who identify as “spiritual”—as opposed to “religious” and subscribing to a structured belief system—were more likely to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, including drug and alcohol dependence. The good news for religious people, however, was that the study found them less likely to have ever been “hazardous drinkers.”
So all religious people might not be predisposed to smashing a bottle of white dog over your head after debating the finer points of mudding, the research suggests that at least some of them will. Just bring an agnostic MMA champ with you to balance things out.
by Munchies Staff
August 17, 2014