Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 609–621 | Cite as

Roman Catholic Priests as Referral Sources and Treatment Aides for Hispanics with Substance Misuse/Abuse Problems

  • Mary CuadradoEmail author
Original Paper


This self-administered mail survey study, conducted along the USA–Mexico border, examines Roman Catholic Priests’ involvement in aiding Hispanic individuals with substance abuse problems. The Priests were found to be highly involved or willing to be involved in: (1) participating in juramentos (pledge usually to Virgin of Guadalupe, with Priest as witness, to temporarily abstain from substance use), (2) providing referrals, and (3) working with family and/or treatment resources in the community in order to help the person seeking their help. Fluency in Spanish, regardless of Hispanic ethnicity, was found to positively impact involvement in juramentos, providing referrals, and willingness to work with community resources.


Hispanic Substance misuse referral Roman Catholic Priests Spanish language fluency Hispanic self-identification USA–Mexico border 



The author wishes to acknowledge Dr. Louis Lieberman, deceased November 2013, for all of his intellectual contributions without which this project, and therefore, this manuscript would not have happened.


  1. Alegria, M., Page, J. P., Hansen, H., Cauce, A. M., Robles, R., Blanco, C., et al. (2006). Improving drug treatment services for Hispanics: Research gaps and scientific opportunities. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 845, 576–584.Google Scholar
  2. Altarriba, J., & Santiago-Rivera, A. L. (1994). Current perspectives on using linguistic and cultural factors in counseling the Hispanic client. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 25(4), 388–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arredondo, R., Weddige, R. L., Justice, C. L., & Fitz, J. (1987). Alcoholism in Mexican–Americans: Intervention and treatment. Hospital & Community Psychiatry, 38(2), 180–183.Google Scholar
  4. Arroyo, J. A., Westerberg, V. S., & Tonigan, J. S. (1998). Comparison of treatment utilization and outcome for Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 59(3), 286–291.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bermudez, J. M., Kirkpatrick, D. R., Hecker, L., & Torres-Robles, C. (2010). Describing Latino Families and their help-seeking attitudes: Challenging the family therapy literature. Contemporary Family Therapy, 32, 155–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bluthenthal, R. N., Jacobson, J. O., & Robinson, P. L. (2007). Are racial disparities in alcohol treatment completion associated with racial differences in treatment modality entry? Comparison of outpatient treatment and residential treatment in Los Angeles County, 1998 to 2000. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(11), 1920–1926.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Caetano, R. (1993). Priorities for alcohol treatment research among U.S. Hispanics. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 25(1), 53–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Canino, G., Anthony, J. C., Freeman, D. H., Shrout, P., & Rubio-Stipec, M. (1993). Drug abuse and illicit drug use in Puerto Rico. American Journal of Public Health, 83(2), 194–200.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  9. Cuadrado, M. (2014). Hispanic use of juramentos and Roman Catholic Priests as auxiliaries to abstaining from alcohol use/misuse. Mental Health, Religion & Culture, 17(10), 1015–1022. doi: 10.1080/13674676.2014.995074.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cuadrado, M., & Lieberman, L. (2002). Traditional family values and substance abuse: The Hispanic contribution to an alternative prevention and treatment approach. New York: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cuadrado, M., & Lieberman, L. (2011). The Virgin of Guadalupe as an ancillary modality for treating Hispanic substance abusers: Juramentos in the United States. Journal of Religion and Health, 50(4), 922–930.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Delgado, M. (1998). Social services in Latino communities: Research and strategies. New York: Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  13. Evans, E., Jaffe, A., Uranda, D., & Anglin, M. D. (2012). Differential outcomes of court- supervised substance abuse treatment among California parolees and probationers. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 56(4), 539–556.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Finn, P. (1994). Addressing the needs of cultural minorities in drug treatment. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 11(4), 325–337.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Gloria, A. M., & Peregoy, J. J. (1996). Counseling Latin alcohol and other substance users/abusers: Cultural considerations of counselors. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 13(2), 119–126.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Guerrero, E. G., Campos, M., Urada, D., & Yang, J. C. (2012). Do cultural and linguistic matter in Latinos’ completion of mandated substance abuse treatment? Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, 7(34). Retrieved from:
  17. Guerrero, E. G., Marsh, J. C., Duan, L., Oh, C., Perron, B., & Lee, B. (2013a). Disparities in completion of substance abuse treatment between and within racial and ethnic groups. Health Service Research, 48(4), 1450–1467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guerrero, E. G., Marsh, J. C., Khachikian, T., Amaro, H., & Vega, W. A. (2013b). Disparities in Latino substance use, service use and treatment: Implications for culturally and evidenced-based interventions under health care reform. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 133, 805–813.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Hoffman, F. (1994). Cultural adaptations of Alcoholics Anonymous to serve Hispanic populations. International Journal of the Addictions, 29(4), 445–460.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Kail, B. L., & Elberth, M. (2002). Moving the Latina substance abuser toward treatment: The role of gender and culture. Journal of Ethnicity and Substance Abuse, 1(3), 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kane, M. N., & Williams, M. (2000). Perceptions of South Florida Hispanic and Anglo Catholics: From whom would they seek help? Journal of Religion and Health, 39(2), 107–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lundgren, L. M., Amodeo, M., Ferguson, F., & Davis, K. (2001). Racial and ethnic differences in drug treatment entry of injection users in Massachusetts. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 21, 145–153.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Panitz, D. R., McConchie, R., & Sauber, S. R. (1983). The role of machismo and the Hispanic family in the etiology and treatment of alcoholism in Hispanic American males. American Journal of Family Therapy, 11(1), 31–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Perron, B. E., Mowbray, O. P., Glass, J. E., Devla, J., Vaughn, M. G., Owen, M. (2009). Differences in service utilization and barriers among Black, Hispanics, and Whites with drug use disorders. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy. Retrieved from
  25. Pew Hispanic Center. (2007). Changing faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion. Washington, DC. Retrieved from
  26. Pew Research: Religion and Public Life Project. (2014). The shifting religious identity of Latinos in the United States. Retrieved from
  27. Saloner, B., & Lé Cook, B. (2013). Blacks and Hispanics are less likely to than Whites to compete addiction treatment, largely due to socioeconomic factors. Health Affairs, 32(1), 135–145.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Schmidt, L. A., Ye, Y., Greenfield, T. K., & Bond, J. (2007). Ethnic disparities in clinical severity and services for alcohol problems: Results from a national alcohol survey. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(1), 48–56.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Shorkey, C., Cambraia, L., & Spence, R. (2009). Assessing culturally competent chemical dependence treatment services for Mexican Americans. Journal of Behavioral Health Services & Research, 36(1), 61–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Spence, R., Wallisch, L., & Smith, S. (2007). Treatment seeking in populations in urban and rural settings on the border. Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, 31(6), 1002–1011.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. US Census. (2011). The Hispanic Population: 2010. Retrieved from
  32. United States-Mexico Health Commission. (2010). Border lives: Health status in the Unites StatesMexico Border Region. Retrieved from:
  33. US Conference of Catholic Bishops. (2013). Backgrounder. Papal transition 2013. Retrieved from
  34. US Conference of Catholic Bishops. (2015). Beliefs and teaching: What we believe. Retrieved from
  35. US Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Office of the Surgeon General, SAMHSA. Culture, race, and ethnicity. A supplement to the mental health: A report to the Surgeon General, Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  36. Vaaler, M. L. (2008). Seeking help from clergy for relationship violence. Journal of Spirituality in Mental Health, 10(2), 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Wells, K., Klap, R., Koike, A., & Sherbourne, C. (2001). Ethnic disparities in unmet need for alcoholism, drug use and mental health care. American Journal of Psychiatry, 158, 2027–2032.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Zabicky, G., & Solis, L. R. (2000). El Juramento: maniobra no médica, coyudante en el manejo de los sujetos con consumo patológico de etanol en México. Aproximación inicial, [The Juramento: a non-medical, helping maneuver in the handling of subjects with pathological ethanol consumption in Mexico. Exploratory study]. Revista Mexicana de Salud Mental, 23(4), 22–27.Google Scholar
  39. Zemore, S. E., Mulia, N., Ye, Y., Borges, G., & Greenfield, T. K. (2009). Gender, acculturation and other barriers to alcohol treatment utilization among Latinos in three National Alcohol Surveys. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 36, 446–456.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Behavioral SciencesMercy CollegeDobbs FerryUSA

Personalised recommendations