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

Abstract

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.

This content is limited to qualifying members.

Existing members, please login first.

If you have an existing account please login now to access this article or view your purchase options.

Purchase only this article ($15)

Create a free account, then purchase this article to download or access it online for 24 hours.

Purchase an SMJ online subscription ($75)

Create a free account, then purchase a subscription to get complete access to all articles for a full year.

Purchase a membership plan (fees vary)

Premium members can access all articles plus recieve many more benefits. View all membership plans and benefit packages.

References

1. Spicer P. Culture and the restoration of self among former American Indian drinkers. Soc Sci Med 2001;53:227–240.
 
2. Kunitz SJ, Levy JE. Drinking Careers: A Twenty-Five Year Study of Three Navajo Populations New Haven, Yale University Press, 1994.
 
3. Leung PK, Kinzie JD, Boehnlein JK, et al. A prospective study of the natural course of alcoholism in a Native American village. J Stud Alcohol 1993;54:733–738.
 
4. John E. Fetzer Institute. Multidimensional measures of religiousness/spirituality for use in health services research; 1999.
 
5. Kunitz SJ, Levy JE. Drinking, Conduct Disorder, and Social Change: Navajo Experiences Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000.
 
6. Robin RW, Long JC, Rasmussen JK, et al. Relationship of binge drinking to alcohol dependence, other psychiatric disorders, and behavioral problems in an American Indian tribe. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 1998;22:518–523.
 
7. Spicer P, Beals J, Croy C, et al. The prevalence of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence in two American Indian populations. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 2003;27:1785–1797.
 
8. Beals J, Manson SM, Whitesell NR, et al. Prevalence of mental disorders and utilization of mental health services in two American Indian reservation populations: mental health disparities in a national context. Am J Psychiatry 2005;162:1723–1732.
 
9. Beals J, Novins DK, Spicer P, et al. Help seeking for substance use problems in two American Indian reservation populations. Psychiatr Serv 2006;57:512–520.
 
10. Bezdek M, Croy C, Spicer P; AI-SUPERPFP Team. Documenting natural recovery in American-Indian drinking behavior: a coding scheme. J Stud Alcohol 2004;65:428–433.
 
11. Spicer P. Narrativity and the representation of experience in American Indian discourses about drinking. Cult Med Psychiatry 1998;22:139–169.
 
12. Bezdek M, Spicer P. Maintaining abstinence in a northern plains tribe. Med Anthropol Q2006;20:160–181.