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Sobriety, spirituality linked for teens in treatment
Date:11/13/2013

he John Templeton Foundation, is the first to include detailed measures of both spirituality and religiosity as independent variables at baseline and over the course of treatment, while controlling for background characteristics and clinical severity, says Co-Investigator Dr. Matthew T. Lee, professor and chair of sociology at The University of Akron. Professor Lee also is vice president of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love.

Participants, most of whom were marijuana dependent (92%) with comorbid alcohol dependence (60%), were interviewed within the first 10 days of treatment and two months later at treatment discharge. Outcomes assessed included urine toxicology screens, alcohol/drug craving symptoms, clinical characteristics, global psychosocial functioning, spiritual experiences and religious behaviors.

Co-Investigator Dr. Byron R. Johnson, director of the Institute for Studies of Religion and distinguished professor of the social sciences at Baylor, notes that "although about a third of the teens self-identified as agnostic or atheist at intake, two-thirds of whom claimed a spiritual identity at discharge, a most remarkable shift."

More important, these changes strongly predicted toxicology, narcissism and positive social behavior, Lee says.

"The key message is that changes in spiritual experiences are associated with better outcomes, including lower toxicology, reduced self-centeredness, and higher levels of helping others," Lee says.

The study, one of the few involving teens participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, "supports the AA theory of addiction which views self-centeredness as a root cause and suggests that this approach would be helpful in designing treatment options for adolescents," Johnson adds.

The adolescents' capacity to become more spiritual, and overcome self-centeredness, evidences the malleability of personality and belief orientation, Lee says.

"Contrary to the con
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Contact: Sarah Lane
slane@uakron.edu
330-972-7429
University of Akron
Source:Eurekalert

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