Spirituality/Medicine Interface Project

A Program of Research on Spirituality and American Indian Alcohol Use

Authors: Paul Spicer, PhD, Marjorie Bezdek, RN, MA, Spero M. Manson, PhD, Jan Beals, PhD


In this brief report we summarize a pattern of findings that has emerged from our research on American Indian (AI) alcohol use and spirituality. With funds from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Fetzer Institute (AA 13 053; P. Spicer, PI) we have used both epidemiologic and ethnographic methods to develop a more complete understanding of the role that spirituality and religion play in changes in drinking behavior among AIs. We begin by first situating the importance of research on spirituality in the more general literature on the AI experience with alcohol before highlighting our published findings in this area. We then close with some speculation about possible next steps in this research program to address what remains one of the most compelling sources of health disparities in the first nations of the United States.

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