Development of a bibliography on religion, spirituality and addictions. Academic Article uri icon


  • The aim of this study was to develop a comprehensive annotated public-domain bibliography of the literature on spirituality and addictions to facilitate future research and scholarship.A search was conducted of all citations listed in the MEDLINE, PsychINFO and ALTA Religion databases covering a period from 1941 to 2004 using the following search terms: substance abuse, substance dependence, addiction, religion, spirituality. A group of experts in the field then classified each citation according to empirically derived categories.A total of 1353 papers met the search parameters and were classified into 10 non-exclusive categories: (1) attitudes toward spirituality and substance use, (2) commentaries, (3) spiritual practices and development in recovery, (4) spiritual and religion variables in the epidemiology of substance abuse, (5) psychoactive substances and spiritual experiences, (6) religious and spiritual interventions, (7) literature reviews, (8) measurement of spirituality and addictions, (9) 12-Step spirituality and (10) youth and development.The literature is voluminous, but has focused primarily in a few areas. Common findings included an inverse relationship between religiosity and substance use/abuse, reduced use among those practising meditation and protective effects of 12-Step group involvement during recovery. Although sound instruments are available for measuring spirituality, studies have tended to use simplistic, often single-item measures.

publication date

  • July 2007