Contrasting faith-based and traditional substance abuse treatment programs

James Alan Neff, Clayton T. Shorkey, Liliane Cambraia Windsor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article (a) discusses the definition of faith-based substance abuse treatment programs, (b) juxtaposes Durkheim's theory regarding religion with Simpson (2004) treatment process model to highlight key dimensions of faith-based and traditional programs, and (c) presents results from a study of seven programs to identify key program dimensions and to identify differences/similarities between program types. Focus group/Concept Mapping techniques yielded a clear "spiritual activities, beliefs, and rituals" dimension, rated as significantly more important to faith-based programs. Faith-based program staff also rated "structure and discipline" as more important and "work readiness" as less important. No differences were found for "group activities/cohesion" and "role modeling/mentoring," "safe, supportive environment," and "traditional treatment modalities." Programs showed substantial similarities with regard to core social processes of treatment such as mentoring, role modeling, and social cohesion. Implications are considered for further research on treatment engagement, retention, and other outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Concept Mapping
  • Faith-based treatment
  • Health disparities
  • Substance abuse treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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