Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

A Preliminary 6-Month Prospective Study Examining Self-reported Religious Preference, Religiosity/Spirituality, and Retention at a Jewish Residential Treatment Center for Substance-Related Disorders


Although there is a substantial amount of research suggesting that higher levels of religiosity/spirituality (R/S) are associated with better treatment outcomes of substance-related disorders, no studies have explored this relationship at a faith-based residential treatment center. The objective of this prospective study is to explore the relationship between R/S, self-reported religious preference, and retention at a Jewish residential treatment center for substance-related disorders. Using the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale, R/S levels were assessed for 33 subjects at baseline, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months. Results demonstrated a significant relationship between baseline R/S level and retention at 6 months, while R/S levels were unchanged during the course of treatment. Notably, no relationship was found between self-reported religious affiliation and retention. This study demonstrates that patients’ R/S level, rather than religious affiliation, is a possible predictor for better outcome at faith-based residential centers for substance-related disorders.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Figure 1
Figure 2


  1. 1.

    Brizer DA. Religiosity and drug abuse among psychiatric inpatients. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 1993; 19(3): 337–345.

  2. 2.

    Pardini DA, Plante TG, Sherman A, et al. Religious faith and spirituality in substance abuse recovery: Determining the mental health benefits. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2000; 19(4): 347–354.

  3. 3.

    Gorsuch RL. Religious aspects of substance abuse and recovery. Journal of Social Issues 1995; 51(2): 65–83.

  4. 4.

    Avants SK, Warburton LA, Margolin A. Spiritual and religious support in recovery from addiction among HIV-positive injection drug users. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2001; 33(1): 39–45.

  5. 5.

    Koenig HG, McCullough ME, Larson DB. Handbook of religion and health. Oxford University Press, USA; 2001.

  6. 6.

    Grettenberger SE, Bartkowski JP, Smith SR. Evaluating the effectiveness of faith-based we agencies: Methodological challenges and possibilities. Journal of Religion & Spirituality in Social Work 2006; 25(3–4): 223–240.

  7. 7.

    Paloutzian RF, Kirkpatrick LA. Introduction: The scope of religious influences on personal and societal well being. Journal of Social Issues 1995; 51(2): 1–11.

  8. 8.

    Longshore D, Anglin MD, Conner BT. Are religiosity and spirituality useful constructs in drug treatment research? The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research 2009; 36(2): 177–188.

  9. 9.

    Underwood L. Ordinary spiritual experience: Qualitative research, interpretive guidelines, and population distribution for the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale. Archive for the Psychology of Religion 2006; 28(1): 181–218.

  10. 10.

    Kirkwood W. Studying communication about spirituality and the spiritual consequences of communication. Journal of Communication and Religion 1994; 17(1): 13–26.

  11. 11.

    Thoresen CE, Harris AHS, Oman D. Spirituality, religion, and health. In: TG Plante (Ed). Faith and Health: Psychological Perspectives. New York: The Guildford Press, 2001, pp15–52.

  12. 12.

    Hill PC, Pargament KI. Advances in the conceptualization and measurement of religion and spirituality: Implications for physical and mental health research. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality 2008; S(1): 3–17.

  13. 13.

    Pargament KI, Park CL. In times of stress: The religion–coping connection. In: B Spilka, DN McIntosh (Eds). The Psychology of Religion: Theoretical Approaches. Boulder: Westview Press. 1997, pp43–53.

  14. 14.

    Poloma MM, Pendleton BF. Exploring types of prayer and quality of life: A research note. Review of Religious Research 1989; 46–53.

  15. 15.

    Stanley MA, Bush AL, Camp ME, et al. Older adults’ preferences for religion/spirituality in treatment for anxiety and depression. Aging & Mental Health 2011; 15(3): 334–343.

  16. 16.

    Gorsuch RL, Butler MC. Initial drug abuse: A review of predisposing social psychological factors. Psychological Bulletin 1976; 83(1): 120–137.

  17. 17.

    Kendler KS, Gardner CO, Prescott CA. Religion, psychopathology, and substance use and abuse; a multimeasure, genetic-epidemiologic study. American Journal of Psychiatry 1997; 154(3): 322–329.

  18. 18.

    Larson DB, Larson SB. Spirituality's potential relevance to physical and emotional health: A brief review of quantitative research. Journal of Psychology and Theology 2003; 31(1): 37–52.

  19. 19.

    Mathew RJ, Georgi J, Wilson WH, et al. A retrospective study of the concept of spirituality as understood by recovering individuals. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 1996; 13(1): 67–73.

  20. 20.

    Miller WR. Researching the spiritual dimensions of alcohol and other drug problems. Addiction 1998; 93(7): 979–990.

  21. 21.

    SAMSA. National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS). 2007; http://www.oas.samhsa.gov/nssats2k7/nssats2k7toc.cfm. Accessed 2011-5-5.

  22. 22.

    Neff JA, Shorkey CT, Windsor LC. Contrasting faith-based and traditional substance abuse treatment programs. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2006; 30(1): 49–61.

  23. 23.

    Zhang Z, Friedmann PD, Gerstein DR. Does retention matter? Treatment duration and improvement in drug use. Addiction 2003; 98(5): 673–684.

  24. 24.

    Simpson D, Joe GW, Rowan-Szal GA. Drug abuse treatment retention and process effects on follow-up outcomes. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 1997; 47(3): 227–235.

  25. 25.

    Simpson DD. Treatment for drug abuse. Follow-up outcomes and length of time spent. Archives of General Psychiatry 1981; 38(8): 875–880.

  26. 26.

    Stark M. Dropping out of substance abuse treatment: A clinically oriented review. Clinical Psychology Review 1992; 12(1): 93–116.

  27. 27.

    Messina N, Wish E, Nemes S. Predictors of treatment outcomes in men and women admitted to a therapeutic community. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 2000; 26(2): 207–227.

  28. 28.

    Mulder RT, Frampton C, Peka H, et al. Predictors of 3-month retention in a drug treatment therapeutic community. Drug and Alcohol Review 2009; 28(4): 366–371.

  29. 29.

    Lecrubier Y, Sheehan D, Weiller E, et al. The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). A short diagnostic structured interview: Reliability and validity according to the CIDI. European Psychiatry 1997; 12(5): 224–231.

  30. 30.

    Sheehan D, Lecrubier Y, Harnett Sheehan K, et al. The validity of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI) according to the SCID-P and its reliability. European Psychiatry 1997; 12(5): 232–241

  31. 31.

    Sheehan D, Lecrubier Y, Sheehan K, et al. The Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI): The development and validation of a structured diagnostic psychiatric interview for DSM-IV and ICD-10. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1998; 59:22–33.

  32. 32.

    Hasin DS, Stinson FS, Ogburn E, et al. Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence in the United States: Results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Archives of General Psychiatry 2007; 64(7): 830–842.

  33. 33.

    McGovern MP, Xie H, Segal SR, et al. Addiction treatment services and co-occurring disorders: Prevalence estimates, treatment practices, and barriers. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2006; 31(3): 267–275.

  34. 34.

    Broome KM, Flynn PM, Simpson DD. Psychiatric comorbidity measures as predictors of retention in drug abuse treatment programs. Health Services Research 1999; 34(3): 791–806.

  35. 35.

    Nomamiukor N, Brown ES. Attrition factors in clinical trials of comorbid bipolar and substance-related disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders 2009; 112(1–3): 284–288.

  36. 36.

    McLellan AT, Kushner H, Metzger D, et al. The Fifth Edition of the Addiction Severity Index. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 1992; 9(3): 199–213.

  37. 37.

    Mäkelä K. Studies of the reliability and validity of the Addiction Severity Index. Addiction 2004; 99(4): 398–410.

  38. 38.

    Smith KW, Larson MJ. Quality of life assessments by adult substance abusers receiving publicly funded treatment in Massachusetts. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 2003; 29(2): 323–335.

  39. 39.

    Field CA, Adinoff B, Harris TR, et al. Construct, concurrent and predictive validity of the URICA: Data from two multi-site clinical trials. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009; 101(1–2): 115–123.

  40. 40.

    Field CA, Duncan J, Washington K, et al. Association of baseline characteristics and motivation to change among patients seeking treatment for substance dependence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2007; 91(1): 77–84.

  41. 41.

    Underwood L, Teresi J. The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale: Development, theoretical description, reliability, exploratory factor analysis, and preliminary construct validity using health-related data. Annals of Behavioral Medicine 2002; 24(1): 22–33.

  42. 42.

    Underwood LG. The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale: Overview and results. Religions 2011; 2(1): 29–50.

  43. 43.

    Robinson EA, Cranford JA, Webb JR, et al. Six-month changes in spirituality, religiousness, and heavy drinking in a treatment-seeking sample. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 2007; 68(2): 282–290.

  44. 44.

    Zemore SE, Kaskutas LA. Helping, spirituality and alcoholics anonymous in recovery. Journal of Studies on Alcohol 2004; 65(383–391.

  45. 45.

    Flynn P, Craddock S, Hubbard R, et al. Methodological overview and research design for the Drug Abuse Treatment Outcome Study (DATOS). Psychology of Addictive Behaviors 1997; 11(4): 230–243.

  46. 46.

    Shao J, Zhong B. Last observation carry-forward and last observation analysis. Statistics in Medicine 2003; 22(15): 2429–2441.

  47. 47.

    Heinz A, Epstein DH, Preston KL. Spiritual/religious experiences and in-treatment outcome in an inner-city program for heroin and cocaine dependence. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2007; 39(1): 41–49.

  48. 48.

    Mason SJ, Deane FP, Kelly PJ, et al. Do spirituality and religiosity help in the management of cravings in substance abuse treatment? Substance Use & Misuse 2009; 44(13): 1926–1940.

  49. 49.

    Conner BT, Anglin MD, Annon J, et al. Effect of religiosity and spirituality on drug treatment outcomes. The Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research 2009; 36(2): 189–198.

  50. 50.

    Carter T. The effects of spiritual practices on recovery from substance abuse. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing 1998; 5(5): 409–413.

  51. 51.

    Stewart C. An empirical exploration of spirituality and religiousness in addiction treatment. American Journal of Pastoral Counseling 2004; 7(4): 71–83.

  52. 52.

    Spiegel MC, Kravitz RY. Confronting addiction. Jewish pastoral care: A practical handbook from traditional and contemporary sources 2001; 264–285.

  53. 53.

    Green LL, Fullilove MT, Fullilove RE. Stories of spiritual awakening:: The nature of spirituality in recovery. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 1998; 15(4): 325–331.

  54. 54.

    Zemore SE. A role for spiritual change in the benefits of 12 step involvement. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research 2007; 31 (s3): 76s-79s.

  55. 55.

    Califano Jr JA, Bush C, Chenault KI, et al. So help me god: Substance abuse, religion and spirituality. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. 2001; 2010. Available at: http://www.casacolumbia.org/…/379-So%20Help%20Me%20God.pdf. Accessed 2012-1-14.

  56. 56.

    Connors GJ, Walitzer KS, Tonigan JS. Spiritual change in recovery. Recent Developments in Alcoholism 2009; 1–19.

  57. 57.

    Sterling RC, Weinstein S, Losardo D, et al. A retrospective case control study of alcohol relapse and spiritual growth. The American Journal on Addictions 2007; 16(1): 56–61.

  58. 58.

    Cook CCH. Addiction and spirituality. Addiction 2004; 99(5): 539–551.

  59. 59.

    Koenig HG. Concerns about measuring "spirituality" in research. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2008; 196(5): 349–355.

  60. 60.

    Dermatis H, James T, Galanter M, et al. An exploratory study of spiritual orientation and adaptation to therapeutic community treatment. Journal of addictive diseases 2010; 29(3): 306–313.

  61. 61.

    Simpson DD. A conceptual framework for drug treatment process and outcomes. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2004; 27(2): 99–121.

  62. 62.

    Hodge DR. A template for spiritual assessment: A review of the JCAHO requirements and guidelines for implementation. Social Work 2006; 51(4): 317–326.

  63. 63.

    Galanter M, Dermatis H, Bunt G, et al. Assessment of spirituality and its relevance to addiction treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2007; 33(3): 257–264.

  64. 64.

    Miller WR, Forcehimes A, O'Leary MJ, et al. Spiritual direction in addiction treatment: Two clinical trials. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 2008; 35(4): 434–442.

  65. 65.

    Simpson DD, Joe GW, Rowan-Szal GA, et al. Drug abuse treatment process components that improve retention. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 1997; 14(6): 565–572.

  66. 66.

    Joosten E, De Weert G, Sensky T, et al. Effect of shared decision-making on therapeutic alliance in addiction health care. Patient Preference and Adherence 2008; 2: 277–285.

  67. 67.

    Poole R, Higgo R. Spirituality and the threat to therapeutic boundaries in psychiatric practice. Mental Health, Religion and Culture 2011; 14(1): 19–29.

  68. 68.

    Cook CCH, Powell A, Sims A, et al. Spirituality and secularity: Professional boundaries in psychiatry. Mental Health, Religion and Culture 2011; 14(1): 35–42.

  69. 69.

    Meier PS, Donmall MC, McElduff P, et al. The role of the early therapeutic alliance in predicting drug treatment dropout. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2006; 83(1): 57–64.

  70. 70.

    Meier PS, Barrowclough C, Donmall MC. The role of the therapeutic alliance in the treatment of substance misuse: A critical review of the literature. Addiction 2005; 100(3): 304–316.

  71. 71.

    Brener L, Resnick I, Ellard J, et al. Exploring the role of consumer participation in drug treatment. Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2009; 105(1): 172–175.

Download references


This project was partially funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (grant no. K23DA 19522-2) and the Annenberg Foundation. The authors greatly appreciate the opportunity to collect data at Beit T’Shuvah and the support of Dr. Bill Resnick, Mrs. Harriet Rossetto, and Rabbi Mark Borovitz. The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Beit T’Shuvah.

Conflict of Interest Statement

None of the authors report any conflict of interest related to this work.

Author information

Correspondence to Iman Parhami MD, MPH.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Parhami, I., Davtian, M., Collard, M. et al. A Preliminary 6-Month Prospective Study Examining Self-reported Religious Preference, Religiosity/Spirituality, and Retention at a Jewish Residential Treatment Center for Substance-Related Disorders. J Behav Health Serv Res 41, 390–401 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11414-012-9279-x

Download citation


  • Residential Treatment
  • Religious Preference
  • Residential Setting
  • Addiction Severity Index
  • Positive Religious Coping