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Spirituality As A Protective Factor Daphne Walker-Thoth, M.Ed., MACSAPP Executive Director Committed Caring Faith Communities Research Associate Missouri Institute of Mental Health University of Missouri - Columbia Overview of Workshop

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slide1

Spirituality As A Protective Factor

Daphne Walker-Thoth, M.Ed., MACSAPP

Executive Director

Committed Caring Faith Communities

Research Associate

Missouri Institute of Mental Health University of Missouri - Columbia

overview of workshop
Overview of Workshop
  • Explore how faith community can use spiritual nurturing to prevent substance abuse and support recovery.
  • Look at contributions faith organizations make to welfare of the community.
  • Discuss the role congregations can play in positive youth development.
slide3

Risk/Protective Factors

Individual

Peer

Family

Community

School

Protective Factors

Risk Factors

slide4

Risk/Protective Factors

Much of prevention in Missouri is developed around the risk/protective theory of Drs. J. David Hawkins and Richard F. Catalano.

Protective factors are situations or characteristics that may decrease the likelihood that a child will use or abuse alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

Risk factors are situations or characteristics that may increase the likelihood that a child will use or abuse alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs.

slide5

Examples of Protective Factors

  • Strong, positive family bonds
  • Parental monitoring of children’s activities and peers
  • Clear rules of conduct that are consistently enforced within the family
  • Strong bonds with institutions such as faith organizations and schools
  • Community rewards for prosocial behavior
  • Low prevalence of neighborhood crime
slide6

Examples of Risk Factors

  • Chaotic home environments in which parents abuse substances
  • Lack of parent-child attachment and nurturing
  • Failure in school
  • Poor coping skills
  • Affiliation with peers who display defiant behavior
  • Early sexual involvement
  • Maternal depression
  • High prevalence of crime, inadequate housing
slide7

What the Research Tells Us

  • Religion has been cited as a deterrent to alcohol and drug abuse in children, adolescents, and adults.
  • Religion reduced the likelihood of initiation and abuse by influencing choice of peers and moral values, increasing coping skills, and reducing the potential for turning to alcohol and other drugs during periods of stress.
  • (Harold Koenig, et.al – Handbook of Religion and Health, 2001)
slide8

What the Research Tells Us

  • People with strong religious or spiritual beliefs are healthier, heal faster, and live longer than those without them.

(National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, Columbia University, So Help Me God, 2001)

  • Religiousness is positively associated with prosocial values and behavior. Likewise, it is negatively related to suicide ideations and attempts, substance abuse, premature sexual involvement, and delinquency.

(Search Institute)

slide9

What the Research Tells Us

  • Religious proscriptiveness showed a significant impact on high school students’ use of alcohol.
  • Youth ages 12 to 17 with higher levels of religiosity were less likely to have used cigarettes, alcohol, or illicit drugs in the past month than youth with lower levels of religiosity.
slide10

What the Research Tells Us

  • Adults who never attend religious service are almost twice as likely to drink, three times likelier to smoke and almost eight times likelier to use marijuana than those who attend religious services at least weekly.
  • (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, So Help Me God, 2001)
slide11

What the Research Tells Us

  • Teens who do not consider religious beliefs important are almost three times likelier to drink, binge drink and smoke, almost four times likelier to use marijuana and seven times likelier to use illicit drugs than teens who strongly believe that religion is important.
  • (National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, So Help Me God, 2001)
slide12

What the Research Tells Us

  • More than 78% of youth (19 million) reported that religious beliefs are a very important part of their lives, 69% (17 million) reported that religious beliefs influence how they make decisions.
  • In 2002, about 8 million youth (33%) aged 12 to 17 years attended religious services 25 times or more in the past year.
  • (SAMHSA 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
slide13

What the Research Tells Us

  • Among youth, females were more likely than males to attend religious services, to report that religious beliefs are a very important part of their lives, and to indicate that religious beliefs influence how they make decisions.
  • (SAMHSA 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health)
slide14

Why Involve Faith Organizations in Substance Abuse Efforts?

  • Faith communities are making major contributions to the welfare of their communities through a combination of social and spiritual ministries.
  • 95% of Americans believe in God and 92% are affiliated with a specific religion (CASA, 2001).
  • A 2008 Gallup Poll found that 78% of Americans believe in God, 15% don’t believe in God, but believe in a universal spirit or higher power, and 6% don’t believe in either.
why involve faith organizations in substance abuse efforts
Why Involve Faith Organizations in Substance Abuse Efforts?
  • In some communities, the faith organization represents the hub of the neighborhood. There are between some 200,000 and 300,000 congregations in the United States. The faith community can be powerful and influential.
  • Highly religious people are more likely to engage in helping behaviors. (Gallup Poll, 2008).
  • 9 of 10 Americans identify with some type of religion. (Gallup Poll, 2007).
slide16

Why Involve Faith Organizations in Substance Abuse Efforts?

  • Spirituality is a protective factor that helps decrease the likelihood that youth will use alcohol or other drugs. Faith organizations are chief conveyers of spiritual values in many communities.
  • Within faith organizations is a diversity of people of a variety of ages who have the skills that can be useful in prevention efforts (e.g., teachers, physicians, youth, members of recovery community, coaches, counselors, musicians).
slide17

Why Involve Faith Organizations in Substance Abuse Efforts?

  • In some cultures, people will seek help from the church for a variety of social service needs before going to a government agency or public facility. Clergy are front line workers who get invited to places social service agency personnel do not.
  • Clergy often have the power to mobilize the community around a particular issue such as substance abuse.
  • Congregations are economically independent and can advocate for the community without outside constraints.
why involve faith organizations in substance abuse efforts18
Why Involve Faith Organizations in Substance Abuse Efforts?
  • Faith communities have the vocabulary, the influence, and the knowledge to be a primary force in organizing communities to help the suffering addict, to prevent the future addict, and to support the recovering individual.
  • Faith organizations can easily incorporate prevention messages into their existing youth or older adult ministries or programs. Faith organizations can provide youth and older adults with positive alternative activities.
slide19

National Congregations Survey Findings 1998

  • 57% participate in social service, community development or neighborhood organizing projects.
  • Housing, clothing,and good projects are more common than health, education, domestic violence, substance abuse, tutoring/mentoring, or work issues. Most common services revolve around emergencies and are short-term.
  • Although most congregations do some social service activity, few of them actually administer programs under their own auspices.
  • Source: Religious Congregations And Welfare Reform, Mark Chaves, in Society Jan./Feb. 2001
slide20

National Congregations Survey Findings 1998

  • Larger congregations spend more money on social service activities than smaller congregations.
  • Congregations located in poorer neighborhoods tend to do more social service activity than congregations in more affluent neighborhoods.
  • Congregations with more middle class people do more social service activity than those with more poor people in them.
  • Median congregation in U.S. includes 75 people and operates with a budget of $55,000. Congregations tend to support very specific, time-limited projects.
what is spirituality
What is Spirituality?
  • Different from religion
  • Has cognitive, experiential, and behavioral aspects (search for meaning, purpose and truth in life; the beliefs and values by which a person lives; feelings of hope, love, connection, inner peace, comfort, and support)
  • Has to do with an individual’s intuition of being part of the universe, of being connected to all of life
slide22

What is Spirituality?

Some find spirituality though religion or a personal relationship with the divine. Others find it through a connection to nature, through music and the arts, through a set of values or principles or through the quest for scientific truth.

Spirituality can be a resource for coping with life-changing incidents.

what is religion
What is Religion?

Organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, practices, and worship that may center on one God or a number of deities.

  • Belief in deity
  • Doctrine of salvation
  • Code of conduct
  • Use of sacred stories
  • Religious rituals
slide24

Hardwired to Connect

  • The Commission on Children at Risk released a scientific report in 2003 entitled Hardwired to Connect: The New Scientific Case for Authoritative Communities
  • The report presents new strategies to reduce the currently high numbers of U.S. children who are suffering from emotional and behavioral problems
  • The report suggests that children are biologically hardwired for enduring attachments to other people and for moral and spiritual meaning
slide25

Hardwired to Connect

  • Meeting children’s needs for enduring attachments and for moral and spiritual meaning is the best way to ensure their healthy development, according to the report.
  • It recommends development of authoritative communities - groups of people who are committed to one another over time and who exhibit and are able to pass on what it means to be a good person (these groups can be families, faith organizations, educational and recreational groups, etc.)
slide26

Hardwired to Connect

  • Primary nurturing relationships influence early spiritual development, and spiritual development can influence us biologically in the same ways that primary nurturing relationships do.
  • Spirituality and religiosity can be associated with lower levels of stress hormone, more optimism, and commitment to helping others.
  • Religiosity and spirituality significantly influence well-being.
  • The human brain appears to be organized to ask ultimate questions and seek ultimate answers.
slide27

Ten Spiritual NeedsBy Sandra J. Dailey in Spiritual Wellness

  • Acceptance
  • Personal worth & identity
  • Forgiveness
  • Hope
  • Love
  • Humor
  • Faith
  • Worship
  • Meditation & prayer
  • Peace
helping people learn to nurture their spirits
Helping People Learn to Nurture Their Spirits
  • Help them discover their purpose in life by tapping into what they are passionate about
  • Teach them to pray and meditate
  • Help them live one day at a time
  • Help them realize that some parts of life can be managed and others cannot. Serenity is found when people understand and accept what can be controlled and what cannot
slide29

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenityto accept the thingsI cannot change,courage to changethe things I canand the wisdomto know the difference.

Author: Reinhold Niebuhr

slide30

Helping People Learn to

Nurture Their Spirits

  • Help them learn to transcend the material world
  • Help them feel okay about themselves
  • Help them see how they are part of nature
  • Show them how to focus their thoughts on triumph and hope rather than despair and defeat
  • Help them not expect others to bring them happiness and make their lives complete
  • Help them to count their blessings each day
slide31

Helping People Learn to

Nurture Their Spirits

  • Participation in church, synagogue, or mosque services for those who find this important
  • Help them figure out what gives them inner peace, comfort, strength, love, and a feeling of connection
  • Help them figure out what moves them deeply
  • Help them learn to be still and listen to inner voice
  • Help them protect themselves against toxic people
slide32

Helping People Learn to

Nurture Their Spirits

  • Teach them the importance of laughter
  • Teach them to be kind to themselves, not to expect to be perfect
  • Teach them to rest and relax
  • Help them discover where it is that they feel the most connected to their higher power
  • Help them decide what kind of person they want to be rather than focusing on what they want to do
  • Healing often comes through the telling of the story
  • Source: Victor Parachin, 8 Serenity Suggestions, Vibrant Life, Nov. 1999
slide33

Ten Questions to Help People

Find Their True Calling

  • How have my parents’ expectations affected my choices?
  • What are my assumptions about money?
  • With whom should I surround myself?
  • How much power does my environment have over me?
  • How have I been trapped by success?
  • Am I willing to spend years before letting my dream manifest itself?
slide34

Ten Questions to Help People

Find Their True Calling

7.What assumptions did I make when I was young about what I’m good at or not good at?

8. Am I afraid of looking inward?

9. Am I willing to spend years looking for an answer?

10. What am I naturally curious about?

From Po Bronson’s book “What Should I Do with My Life?”

role of spirituality religion in recovery
Role of Spirituality/Religion in Recovery
  • Nursing journals report religious patients and their families better able to cope with illness and less likely to commit suicide
  • Prayer and specific beliefs and cognitions about God and the meaning of life are particularly important in Black women’s efforts to cope with difficult life events
slide36

Role of Spirituality/Religion

in Recovery

  • Belief in benevolence of God was related to positive mental health outcomes
  • For many alcoholics, religion is an important part of the recovery process. Many recovering individuals acknowledge the role of spirituality in their ability to engage in and maintain sobriety
slide37

Role of Spirituality/Religion

in Recovery

  • 95% of Americans believe in God and 92% are affiliated with a specific religion (CASA, 2001)
  • In a study of recovering and relapsing adults, those in recovery for 2 years had greater levels of faith and spirituality than those continuing to relapse
slide38

Role of Spirituality/Religion

in Prevention

  • Religious proscriptiveness showed a significant impact on high school students use of alcohol
  • Spiritual dimensions of programs are increasingly being identified as important in fostering & sustaining positive behavioral change
  • Youth’s strong bonds to family, church, and/or peers can serve as protective factors
slide39

Reasons Spirituality/Religion Help in Prevention & Recovery

  • Effective at establishing moral order
  • Provide opportunities to acquire learned competencies
  • Provide social and organizational ties
  • Faith Matters: Race/Ethnicity, Religion and Substance Use, Annie E. Casey Foundation, John Wallace, Valerie Myers, Esohe R. Osai
slide40

The spiritual life is not a special career, involving abstraction from the world of things. It is part of every man’s life and until he has realized it, he is not a complete human being.

Evelyn Underhill