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Int J Psychiatry Med. 2008;38(4):391-406.

Spirituality during alcoholism treatment and continuous abstinence for one year.

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  • 1Department of Chaplain Services, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. piderman.katherine@mayo.edu



The primary aim of this prospective study was to examine the role of several aspects of spirituality in maintaining abstinence from alcohol for one year in persons treated for alcohol dependence. The roles of alcohol abstinence self-efficacy and Alcoholics Anonymous affiliation were also examined.


Seventy-four adults with alcohol dependence who had completed a three-week outpatient addiction program participated in this study. Instruments used included the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, Duke Religion Index, Brief Religious Coping Scale, Alcohol Abstinence Self-Efficacy Scale, and Alcoholics Anonymous Affiliation Scale. Abstinence data was collected from participants and collaterals three, six, and twelve months after treatment discharge. Demographics, discharge measures, and the change in scores from admission to discharge were compared between those with and without 12-month alcohol abstinence using logistic regression or Fisher's exact tests.


Twenty-eight participants were categorized as continuously abstinent for one year. The strongest associations between 12 month abstinence and the variables of interest were discharge scores of abstinence self-efficacy and existential well-being, and increases during treatment in scores of private spiritual practices. Increased age demonstrated a significant association with positive outcome.


The associations of private spiritual practices, existential well-being, and abstinence self-efficacy with one year of continuous abstinence following treatment discharge suggest the importance of addressing issues related to these variables during alcoholism treatment. More research is needed to understand the role of these variables in promoting and maintaining abstinence and to determine whether or not a related intervention would improve abstinence rates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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