Respondent-driven sampling of Muslim undergraduate U.S. college students and alcohol use: pilot study

  • Cynthia L. ArfkenEmail author
  • Sameera Ahmed
  • Wahiba Abu-Ras
Original Paper



Prevention of alcohol abuse requires information about all demographic groups. However, little is known about drinking among people affiliated with proscriptive religions due to omission of religious affiliation in many surveys and challenges sampling them. Our objective was to pilot a sampling technique frequently used in the HIV literature, respondent-driven sampling, to assess potential association of alcohol use with religiosity, personal proscriptive belief, and social influences among Muslim U.S. college students.


Self-identified Muslim undergraduate students (N = 156) at one urban commuter university completed a web-based survey.


Prevalence adjusted for sampling was 9.1 % (95 % CI: 0.2–17.1 %) with in-group recruitment of 0.36 for drinkers and 0.43 for abstainers. In unadjusted analyses, students who were lifetime abstainers were more likely than drinkers to hold personal proscriptive belief and strongly agree with a measure of private religiosity. There was no difference on public religiosity measures between groups. Lifelong abstainers were more likely to report fewer students, fewer Muslim students, and fewer of their friends drank alcohol. They also were more likely to report that they attended high school with more Muslims and currently live in neighborhoods with more Muslims.


In this pilot study, lifetime abstinence was associated with high private religiosity, personal proscriptive religious beliefs, and more proscriptive social influences. The findings suggest that respondent-driven sampling may be feasible in recruiting Muslim students. However, validation against other sampling techniques is needed.


Respondent-driven sampling Alcohol Religiosity Islam College students 



The authors wish to thank Dr. Thomas J. Johnson from Indiana State University and Dr. Cyprian Wejnert of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for their generous assistance. This work was supported by a grant from the Institute on Social and Public Policy.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia L. Arfken
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sameera Ahmed
    • 2
  • Wahiba Abu-Ras
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Family and Youth InstituteCantonUSA
  3. 3.Adelphi UniversityGarden CityUSA

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