Positive and negative religiousness and search for meaning: Impact on treatment of substance abuse after 6 months

Marjanne Louws-Hendriksen*, Joke C. Van Nieuw Amerongen-Meeuse, Mark Hommes, Jeroen Kuntze, Hanneke Schaap-Jonker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Religiousness and meaning in life are protective factors against addiction. Understanding this relationship may help to improve treatment. The aim of the current study was to assess the associations of positive and negative religiousness and search for meaning with treatment outcome, for patients with substance disorder (SUD). Method: The sample consisted of 115 participants attending a Christian drug addiction treatment center in the Netherlands. The study had a longitudinal design in which associations of positive/negative religiousness and search for meaning at baseline (T0) with treatment outcome after six months (T1) were assessed by means of regression analyses. Treatment outcome was measured by clinical dysfunction and the degree of addiction. Instruments used were the ROM (Routine Outcome Monitoring) Meaning and Religious Faith, the Outcome Questionnaire (OQ-45) and the Measurements in the Addictions for Triage and Evaluations (MATE-1). Results: A high degree of positive religiousness at T0 was associated with less addiction at T1 (p < .01). A high degree of negative religiousness at T0 was related to more clinical dysfunction at T1 (p = <0.05). A higher search for meaning at T0 predicted a higher level of addiction at T1 (p = <0.05). Conclusions: Positive religiousness is associated with less, whereas search for meaning is associated with more addiction after six months. Negative religiousness is not associated with addiction, but with clinical dysfunction. Health professionals are recommended to assess these factors at the start of treatment and to consider possibilities to integrate them into treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109182
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Early online date21 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank our colleagues, who have spent a lot of time in collecting the data and practical organization of this research. Especially we would like to mention Jan Teerds for his invaluable contribution to the design of this research, making the current research possible. Also, we would like to thank Zerahja Locht for his support with the English language used in the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Addiction
  • Clinical dysfunction
  • Meaning
  • Religiousness
  • Treatment outcome


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