Date of Award

Fall 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Fehring, Richard J.

Second Advisor

Laabs, Carolyn A.

Third Advisor

Saunders, Stephen


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimated 22.2 million (9.1 %) of Americans ages 12 and older abused or were dependent on an illicit substance or alcohol in 2005. Substance abuse often leads to addiction, and is damaging to the health of persons, families, and society.

Using Neuman's System Model as the conceptual framework, it was proposed that addiction weakens person's defenses with resultant loss of health. The person with addiction often also suffers from anxiety, depression, or both, increasing the risk for continued substance abuse and its concomitant negative consequences, such as loss of employment, poor finances, damaged relationships, and diminished spirituality. Spirituality is a factor in addiction that is poorly understood and warrants further exploration. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of spirituality religiosity, depression, and anxiety among persons addicted to opioids.

A descriptive and cross-sectional correlational design was used to determine the association of spiritual well-being (SWB), religiosity, depression, anxiety, continued drug use, and drug use consequences during methadone maintenance therapy. Participants (n=108) completed questionnaires regarding SWB, religious background and behavior, anxiety, depression, and drug use consequences. Spiritual histories were obtained from participants' medical records. The majority of participants were white with a mean age of 34.8, had been in methadone therapy for an average of 3.1 years and 50% were male. Correlations were examined among the study variables and a regression model examined associations with negative consequences of drug use.

The SWB scale mean (86.7) was not significantly different than the mean found in similar groups (85.7, t(107)=0.624, p=0.534). Spiritual well-being had a significant inverse correlation to both the depression (r=-0.47, p<0.01) and anxiety (r=-0.46, p<0.01) measures. Although spiritual well-being did not correlate with the negative consequences of drug use, existential well-being had a significant inverse correlation (r=-.022, p<0.05). Spirituality, religiosity, anxiety and depression accounted for 20.3% of the variance in negative drug use consequences (R2=0.203, F(4,103)=6.57, p<.001). Results demonstrate that spirituality, religiosity, depression, anxiety, and negative drug use consequences are interrelated in the person with addiction. Further understanding of spirituality in addiction is needed in order to provide spiritual care.

Included in

Nursing Commons