An Examination of the Relationship between Religious Beliefs, Behaviors, Commitment, and Connection and Addiction among African American Women

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Sha-Lai L. Williams Woodson
Joseph G. Pickard
Sharon D. Johnson


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.

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