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J Addict Dis. 2006;25(4):125-32.

Associations between spirituality and substance abuse symptoms in the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area follow-up, 1993-1996.

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Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.


Prior studies on substance abuse treatment programs have provided some evidence that participants who embrace some facet of spirituality during recovery may have greater success in maintaining sobriety. Several plausible associations exist between spirituality and sobriety; this paper posits that spirituality has consistently negative associations with substance abuse symptoms in models with 'substance abuse symptoms' as the outcome. The data come from the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area (ECA) study. In 1993, ECA researchers surveyed 1,920 of the original 3,841 participants, all household residents in East Baltimore. Multiple logistic regression analyses show that strong spiritual beliefs within this population are negatively associated with current substance abuse symptoms [OR = 0.53; 95%CI = 0.35-0.80, p = 0.002]. Homeownership is also negatively associated, while positively associated characteristics include suffering from income- related stress and having a history of substance abuse treatment. This population-based study confirms findings from clinical studies, and the results support continued emphases on spirituality in substance abuse recovery programs.

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