prayer, alcohol, problematic drinking


Four methodologically diverse studies (N = 1,758) show that prayer frequency and alcohol consumption are negatively related. In Study 1 (n = 824), we used a cross-sectional design and found that higher prayer frequency was related to lower alcohol consumption and problematic drinking behavior. Study 2 (n = 702) used a longitudinal design and found that more frequent prayer at Time 1 predicted less alcohol consumption and problematic drinking behavior at Time 2, and this relationship held when controlling for baseline levels oof drinking and prayer. In Study 3 (n = 117), we used an experimental design to test for a casual relationship between prayer frequency and alcohol consumption. Participants assigned to pray every day (either an undirected prayer for a prayer for a relationship partner) for 4 weeks drank about half as much alcohol at the conclusion of the study of control participants. Study 4 (n = 115) replicated the findings of Study 3, as prayer again reduced drinking by about half. These findings are discussed in terms of prayer as reducing drinking motives.

Original Publication Citation

Lambert, N. M., Fincham, F. D., Marks, L. D., & Stillman, T. F. (2010). Invocations and intoxication: Does prayer decrease alcohol consumption? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 24, 209-219.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Psychology of Addictive Behaviors




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor