Drug users' spiritual beliefs, locus of control and the disease concept in relation to Narcotics Anonymous attendance and six-month outcomes

Drug Alcohol Depend. 1995 Apr;38(1):51-6. doi: 10.1016/0376-8716(95)01103-6.


Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is an important support network for drug users emerging from abstinence based treatments. However, the views of NA on 'spirituality' and the 'disease' nature of addiction could be seen as encouraging an external attributional style and have been cited as reasons for non-attendance. After 6 months ninety percent of 101 drug users in treatment were followed up. Narcotics Anonymous attendance was inversely related to drug use for those who had left residential care. We found that spiritual beliefs and disease concept beliefs were not prerequisites for attendance of NA. Spiritual beliefs were not found to cause external attributions for previous drug use or possible future lapse events. It emerged that the most powerful predictors of non-attendance were positive attitudes to the use of alcohol. Treatment implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heroin Dependence / psychology
  • Heroin Dependence / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Religion*
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Illicit Drugs
  • Psychotropic Drugs