Religious Beliefs, Treatment Seeking, and Treatment Completion among Persons with Substance Abuse Problems

Document Type : Original Article


1 School of Community Health and Policy, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

2 Graduate School, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA


Background: Religious beliefs can assist with the success of treatment in persons with substance abuse
problems by providing social support, confidence, and hope.
Methods: As such, a secondary analysis using 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), of
20219 participants with self-identified illicit substance use problems was conducted. Survey was weighted
bivariate and multivariate regression analysis was used to adjust for potential confounders.
Findings: Approximately, 15.0% of the study sample were between ages of 18-25 years and 71.5% were
Non-Hispanic Black, 11.3% were Non-Hispanic White, and 12.1% were Hispanic. About 10.3% had less than a
high school education, 28.0% graduated high school, 30.0% had some college education, and 32.0% were
college graduates. Only 1.3% reported receiving substance abuse treatment in the past 12 months and
5.4% perceived a need for substance abuse treatment in the last 12 months. 65.0% reported that religious
beliefs were an important part of their life and 62.5% reported that their religious beliefs influenced their
decision making. After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, both the importance of religious beliefs and
the influence of religious beliefs on decision making were associated with increased odds of having treatment
[odds ratio (OR) = 1.56, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14-2.14 and OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.11-2.05, respectively].
However, there was no association between the importance of religious beliefs or the influence of religious
beliefs on decision making and perceived need for substance abuse treatment.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that religious beliefs may be an important determinant in receiving treatment
among substance abusers and also have implications for exploration of faith-based and faith-placed interventions