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Int J Offender Ther Comp Criminol. 2014 Apr;58(4):496-515. doi: 10.1177/0306624X12462855. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Causation of drug abuse and treatment strategy: a comparison of counselors' perceptions of faith-based and secular drug treatment programs.

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Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, USA.


Many offenders participate in drug abuse treatment programs while in prison or on probation or parole. Among other benefits, this treatment may lessen the risk of recidivism. Thus, understanding counselor treatment philosophy is important as their attitudes toward treatment can be influential in the strategies they use and ultimately affect treatment outcomes. Analyzing data from 110 drug abuse treatment counselors, this study compared counselors' perceptions of causation of drug abuse and treatment strategy between faith-based and secular treatment programs. It was found that counselors from faith-based programs were more likely to endorse religious models and less prone to support disease models as an explanation of drug use. With regard to treatment strategy, counselor's group affiliation was not predictive of a focus on either a client religious need or a medical treatment model. Nevertheless, the extent of counselor's religiosity was correlated with tackling clients' religious needs as a treatment strategy. On the other hand, certified (licensed) counselors were found to be more supportive of the medical model as a treatment approach. Limitations of the current study and policy implications are discussed.


counselor; counselors’ perception; disease model; faith-based treatment; religion model; religion-based treatment; religiosity

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