Main Article Content
African American, women, religiosity, addictions, mental illness
This study examines the religious/spiritual practices of 106 African American women when addiction is present. Stratified sampling was based on addiction status: no addiction (n=58); addiction to one of either alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine (n=22); and addiction to two or more of the substances (n=26). Using items from the Religiosity Scale to assess belief in God, religious behaviors, commitment and connection, analyses revealed that the majority of the women (84%) believe God exists and is active in their lives. However not all demonstrated formal religious behaviors or have a commitment or connection to religious activities. Women addicted to two or more substances were more likely to report religious behaviors, commitment, and connection such as regular personal religious-based reading/studying and having a feeling of religious commitment compared to women with no or only one addiction. Women with co-occurring addictions may utilize religious-based practices in an attempt to alleviate their emotional pain. Further exploration of religious/spiritual practices and co-morbid substance addiction is needed, as this research may be vital to implementing effective interventions with this population.
Arnold, R.M., Avants, S.K., Margolin, A., & Marcotte, D. (2002). Patient attitudes concerning the inclusion of spirituality into addiction treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 23(4), 319-326. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0740-5472(02)00282-9
Berkel, L.A., Armstrong, T.D., & Cokley, K.O. (2004). Similarities and differences between religiosity and spirituality in African American college students: A preliminary investigation. Counseling and Values, 49(1), 2-14. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-007X.2004.tb00248.x
Blakey, J.M. (2016). The role of spirituality in helping African American women with histories
of trauma and substance abuse heal and recover. Social Work & Christianity, 43(1), 40-59.
Bliss, D.L. (2007). Empirical research on spirituality and alcoholism: A review of the literature.
Journal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions, 7(4), 5-25. doi: 10.1300/J160v07n04_02
Boyd, C.J. (1993). The antecedents of women’s crack cocaine abuse: Family substance abuse,
sexual abuse, depression and illicit drug use. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 10(5), 433-438. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/0740-5472(93)90002-J
Brady, T.M., & Ashley, O.S. (Eds.). (2005). Women in substance abuse treatment: Results from
the Alcohol and Drug Services Study (ADSS) (DHHS Publication No. SMA 04-3968, Analytic Series A-26). Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office
of Applied Studies.
Brome, D.R., Owens, M.D., Allen, K., & Vevaina, T. (2000). An examination of spirituality
among African American women in recovery from substance abuse. Journal of Black Psychology, 26(4), 470-486. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095798400026004008
Canfield, M., Radcliffe, P., Marlow, S., Boreham, M., & Gilchrist, G. (2017). Maternal
substance use and child protection: A rapid evidence assessment of factors associated with loss of child care. Child Abuse & Neglect, 70, 11-27. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.05.005.
Chatters, L.M., Mattis, J.S., Woodward, A.T., Taylor, R J., Neighbors, H.W., & Grayman,
N.A. (2011). Use of ministers for serious personal problems among African Americans:
Findings from the National Survey of American Life. American Journal of
Orthopsychiatry, 81(1), 118-127. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01079.x
Cnaan, R., Boddie, S., Handy, F., Yancey, G., & Schneider, R. (2002). The invisible caring hand: American congregations and the provision of welfare. New York: New York University Press.
Cohen, E., Feinn, R., Arias, A., & Kranzler, H.R. (2007). Alcohol treatment utilization:
Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related
Conditions. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 86(2-3), 214-221.
Cordington, R. Trauma, dissociation, and chronic shame - Reflections for couple and family practice: An interview with Kathy Steele. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 38(4), 669-679. https://doi.org/10.1002/anzf.1275.
Cross, D., Crow, T., Powers, A., & Bradley, B. (2015). Childhood trauma, PTSD, and
problematic alcohol and substance use in low-income, African American men and women. Child Abuse & Neglect, 44, 26-35. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.01.007
Curtis-Boles, H. & Jenkins-Monroe, V. (2000). Substance abuse in African American women.
Journal of Black Psychology, 26(4), 450-469.
Daniulaityte, R., & Carlson, R.G. (2011). “To numb out and start to feel nothing”: Experiences
of stress among crack-cocaine using women in a Midwestern City. Journal of Drug Issues, 41(1), 1-24.https://doi.org/10.1177/002204261104100101
Dascalu, M., Compton, W.M., Horton, J.C., & Cottler, L.B. (2001). Validity of DIS-IV in diagnosing depression and other psychiatric disorders among substance users. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, CPDD Conference Abstracts, 63, S37.
Dilworth-Anderson, P., Williams, S.W., & Cooper, T. (1999). The context of experiencing emotional distress among family caregivers to elderly African Americans. Family Relations: Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 48(4), 391-396.
Ehrmin, J.T. (2002). “That feeling of not feeling”: Numbing the pain of substance-dependent
African American women. Qualitative Health Research, 12(6), 780-791. https://doi.org/10.1177/104973230201200605
Hagedorn, W.B. & Moorhead, H.J.H. (2010). The God-shaped hole: Addictive disorders
and the search for perfection. Counseling and Values, 55(1), 63-78. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-007X.2010.tb00022.x
Jackson, M.S. (1995). Afrocentric treatment of African American women and their children in a
residential chemical dependency program. Journal of Black Studies, 26(1), 17-30.
Johnson, K.S., Elbert-Avila, K.I., & Tulsky, J.A. (2005). The influence of spiritual beliefs and
practices on the treatment preferences of African Americans: A review of the literature. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 53(4), 711-719. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2005.53224.x
Krentzman, A.R., Farkas, K.J., & Townsend, A.L. (2010). Spirituality, religiousness, and
alcoholism treatment outcomes: A comparison between Black and White participants. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 28(2), 128-150. doi:10.1080/07347321003648661
Mattis, J.S. (2000). African American women’s definitions of spirituality and religiosity.
Journal of Black Psychology, 26(1), 101-122.
McCabe, S.E., West, B.T., Jutkiewicz, E.M., & Boyd, C.J. (2017). Multiple DSM-5 substance
use disorders: A national study of US adults. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 32(5), e2625. https://doi.org/10.1002/hup.2625
Meshberg-Cohen, S., Presseau, C., Thacker, L.R., Hefner, K., Svikis, D. (2016). Posttraumatic
stress disorder, health problems, and depression among African American women in residential substance use treatment. Journal of Women’s Health, 25(7), 729-737. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2015.6328
Miller, W.R. (1998). Researching the spiritual dimensions of alcohol and other drug problems.
Addiction, 93(7), 979-990. doi:10.1046/j.1360-0443.1998.9379793.x
Olthuis, J.V., Darredeau, C., & Barrett, S.P. (2013). Substance use initiation: The role of
simultaneous polysubstance use. Drug and Alcohol Review, 32(1), 67-71. doi:10.1111/j.1465-3362.2012.00470.x
Perl, L., Bagalman, E., Fernandes-Alcantara, A.L., Heisler, E. J., McCallion, G., McCarthy, F.
X., & Sacco, L.N. (2014). Homelessness: Targeted federal programs and recent legislation. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL30442.pdf
Perron, B.E., Mowbray, O.P., Glass, J.E., Delva, J., Vaughn, M.G., & Howard, M.O. (2009). Differences in service utilization and barriers among Blacks, Hispanics,
and Whites with drug use disorders. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and
Policy, 4(3). doi:10.1186/1747-597X-4-3
Pew Research Center. (2014). Religious Landscape Study. Washington, D.C. Retrieved from
http://www.pewforum.org/religious-landscape-study/racial-and-ethnic-composition/ on August 30, 2018
Pickard, J.G. (2012). Clergy perceptions of their preparation for counseling older adults. Journal of Religion Spirituality and Aging, 24(4), 276-288.
Pickard, J.G., Inoue, M., Chadiha, L., Johnson, S. (2011). The relationship of social support to African American caregivers help-seeking for emotional problems. Social Service Review, 85(2), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1086/660068
Pickard, J.G. & Tang, F.Y. (2009). Older adults seeking mental health counseling in a NORC. Research on Aging, 31(6), 638-660. doi: 10.1177/0164027509343539
Roberts, A.L., Gilman, S.E., Breslau, J., Breslau, N., Koenen, K.C. (2011). Race/ethnic
differences in exposure to traumatic events, development of post-traumatic stress disorder, and treatment-seeking for post-traumatic stress disorder in the United States. Psychology Medicine, 41(1), 71-83. doi: 10.1017/S0033291710000401
Robins, L. N., Cottler, L. B., Bucholz, K. K, Compton, W. M., North, C. S., & Rourke, K. M.
(2000). Diagnostic Interview Schedule for the DSM-IV (DIS-IV). St. Louis, MO: Washington University.
Rohrbaugh, J. & Jessor, R. (1975). Religiosity in youth: A personal control against deviant behavior. The Journal of Personality, 43(1), 136-155. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-
Salas-Wright, C.P., Tirmazi, T., Lombe, M., & Nebbitt, V.E. (2015). Religiosity and antisocial
behavior: Evidence from young African American women in public housing communities. Social Work Research, 39(2), 82-93. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svv010
Schmidt, L., Greenfield, T., & Mulia, N. (2006). Unequal treatment: Racial and ethnic disparities
in alcoholism treatment services. Alcohol & Health, 29(1), 49-54.
Staton-Tindall, M., Duvall, J., Stevens-Watkins, D., Oser, C.B. (2013). The roles of spirituality
in the relationship between traumatic life events, mental health, and drug use among African American women from one Southern state. (2013). Substance Use & Misuse, 48(12), 1246-1257. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.799023
Stevens-Watkins, D., Perry, B., Harp, K. L., & Oser, C. B. (2012). Racism and illicit drug use
among African American women: The protective effects of ethnic identity, affirmation, and behavior. Journal of Black Psychology, 38(4), 471-49. doi: 10.1177/0095798412438395.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Key substance use and
mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 17-5044, NSDUH Series H-52). Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved from https://www. samhsa.gov/data/
Sullivan, T.P., Weiss, N.H., Price, C., Pugh, N., & Hansen, N.B. (2018). Strategies for coping
with individual PTSD symptoms: Experiences of African American victims of intimate partner violence. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 10(3), 336-344. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tra0000283
Taylor, R.J., Chatters, L.M., and Levin, J. (2004). Religion in the Lives of African Americans: Social, Psychological, and Health Perspectives. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
Wallace, J.M., Myers, V.L., & Osai, E.R. (N.D.) Faith matters: Race/Ethnicity, religion, and substance use. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Baltimore, MD.
Wang, P.S., Berglund, P.A., & Kessler, R.C. (2003). Patterns and correlates of contacting clergy
for mental disorders in the United States. Health Services Research, 38(2), 647-
Weaver, A., Flannelly, K., Flannelly, L, & Oppenheimer, J.E. (2003). Collaboration between
clergy and mental health professionals: A review of professional health care journals from
1980 through 1999. Counseling and Values, 47, 162-171.
Witbrodt, J., Mulia, N., Zemore, S.E., & Kerr, W.C. (2016). Racial/Ethnic disparities in alcohol-
related problems: differences by gender and level of heavy drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 38(6), 1662-1670. doi: 10.1111/acer.12398
Zapolski, T.C.B., Pedersen, S.L., McCarthy, D.M., & Smith, G.T. (2014). Less drinking, yet
more problems: Understanding African American drinking and related problems. Psychological Bulletin, 140(1), 188-223. doi: 10.1037/a0032113