Spirituality, Religion, and Substance Coping as Regulators of Emotions and Meaning Making: Different Effects on Pain and Joy

By Ciarrocchi, Joseph W.; Brelsford, Gina M. | Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling, October 2009 | Go to article overview

Spirituality, Religion, and Substance Coping as Regulators of Emotions and Meaning Making: Different Effects on Pain and Joy


Ciarrocchi, Joseph W., Brelsford, Gina M., Journal of Addictions & Offender Counseling


This study addresses whether aspects of spirituality and religion predict psychological and emotional well-being in a general population over and above personality and coping through the use of drugs or alcohol. Results are consistent with self-control theory and positive psychology approaches.

**********

Substance abuse and criminal behavior clearly represent quintessential features of self-regulation failure. Outside of these extreme examples of self-regulation failure, regulating one's mood drives a significant portion of substance coping. On the basis of the principle that behavior pursues emotion, humans anticipate the pleasant, immediate effects of these substances whether at the end of a hard day's work, as a primer for social conversation, or to regulate chronic physical or mental health pain. At the other end of the self-regulation spectrum, alcohol use is related to substantial percentages of criminal acts, such as homicide and sexual assault. Self-control theory (SCT; Baumeister, Heatherton, & Tice, 1994) defines problematic use of substances as a form of misregulation. That is, people inadvertently choose a method that could result in even greater self-control loss as well as sabotaging the original goal of improving one's mood.

In the years since SCT emerged, numerous studies have verified its general principles (Baumeister & Exline, 1999; Baumeister & Vohs, 2004). Despite its potential, however, the model does not seem to have made a practical impact in substance abuse clinical settings. It has remained mostly a model for understanding self-regulation failure, with less research devoted to developing interventions based on the model. SCT has potential for the addictions field in that many aspects of religion and spirituality support self-regulation (Geyer & Baumeister, 2005; Watts, 2007).

The many facets of SCT are beyond the scope of this article, but it is possible to test some predictions from the model to determine its consistency with outcomes tied to religious beliefs and practices as well as to substance coping. The specific issue in question is whether substance coping is a form of misregulation so that, despite a wish to promote happiness and psychological well-being, substance coping diminishes them. A second question arises from the link between self-control and religion and spirituality. Will religion and spirituality promote happiness and positive psychological functioning in themselves, and do they predict outcomes independently of substance coping?

For these reasons, the following hypotheses have both conceptual and practical implications for understanding the relationships between psychological well-being, substance coping, and religion and spirituality. First, forms of religion and spirituality that emphasize the benevolence of God, the Creator, or a higher power will be associated with positive emotions and measures of psychological well-being (Pargament, 1997; Pargament, Smith, Koenig, & Perez, 1998). Second, substance coping, as a form of misregulation of the sell will be associated with negative emotions and psychological dissatisfaction. Third, controlling for substance abuse, positive religion and spirituality will make an independent contribution, maintaining positive associations with levels of psychological and emotional well-being (Ciarrocchi & Deneke, 2004). Fourth, spiritual struggles will contribute independently over and above substance coping, maintaining positive associations with negative emotion and psychological dissatisfaction. Finally, we explore whether a person's self-designation as being religious or spiritual predicts positive emotional well-being and psychological maturity (Zinnbauer, Pargament, & Scott, 1999) and whether these designations make an independent contribution over and above the propensity to cope by using substances.

Research in positive psychology models has determined that religion and spirituality make independent contributions to subjective wellbeing, but no research to date has directly tested their relationship with substance coping. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spirituality, Religion, and Substance Coping as Regulators of Emotions and Meaning Making: Different Effects on Pain and Joy
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.