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Medical student and patient attitudes toward religion and spirituality in the recovery process

Goldfarb LM; Galanter M; McDowell D; Lifshutz H; Dermatis H
This study compares the views on spirituality of dually diagnosed patients (diagnosed with both substance abuse and general psychiatric disorders) and medical students in order to investigate their respective orientations toward spirituality and their views of the importance of spirituality in the treatment of addiction. We administered a modified version of Feagin's 'Orientation to Life and God Scale' to assess religious and spiritual orientation in both the patients and students. A second series of items was developed and administered in order to compare the patients' and students' perceptions of the relative importance of a religious and spiritual orientation in substance abuse treatment. A third series of items was also given to compare the nature of religious and health-related services on the inpatient unit that patients and students most wanted to see improved. We found that the medical students responsible for treating substance abuse are significantly less religiously and spirituality oriented than the patients they treat, and that the students do not indicate that spirituality is an important component in the care of these patients. It may be clinically relevant to train medical students in the potential importance of spirituality in addiction treatment so that they can incorporate spirituality into the treatment of addictions
PMID: 8911592
ISSN: 0095-2990
CID: 12499

Spirituality and the treatment of the dually diagnosed: an investigation of patient and staff attitudes

McDowell D; Galanter M; Goldfarb L; Lifshutz H
Spirituality is a neglected area of study and research in the treatment of addictions. The role of spirituality in the treatment of the dually diagnosed has received particularly scant attention. One hundred and one patients on an in-patient dual-diagnosis unit, as well as the 31 members of the nursing staff who treat them were surveyed. Patients and staff were questioned about their spiritual beliefs and what was the role of spirituality in the patients' recovery from addiction. Staff were questioned about their own spirituality and what they think the patients' level of spirituality is. In addition the staff were asked what they think the patients' view of spiritually is. Results indicate that the patients and staff are equally spiritually oriented. The patients view spirituality as essential to their recovery and value spiritual programming in their treatment more than some concrete items. The nursing staff underestimated both the patients' level of spirituality and this importance placed on spiritual issues. The authors suggest that more attention should be given by staff to spirituality in the treatment of this population
PMID: 8704001
ISSN: 1055-0887
CID: 36772