Research Focusing on Impact of AA Participation, Spirituality on Recovery from Alcohol Abuse

By Kathleen Weaver

Release Date: November 14, 2000 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The impact of participation in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and spirituality on recovery from alcohol abuse is the focus of a new study at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions (RIA).

RIA Director Gerard J. Connors, Ph.D. has received a $308,000 grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to research the topic, a subject of increasing interest to clinicians and researchers over the past decade.

"Relatively little empirical attention has been placed on spirituality," according to Connors. "In this study, we plan to assess the relationship between AA participation and spirituality, which we define as a sense of life purpose, serenity, and religiosity."

Connors explained that participants for the research protocol will be identified at the New York State Margaret A. Stutzman Addiction Treatment Center in Buffalo. Patients who volunteer for the study will be assessed three times: as they enter the residential treatment program, at the time of discharge, and at six months following treatment.

"This research will be extremely important to our treatment efforts by helping us better understand how personal feelings of spirituality and involvement in the 12 step fellowships improve our client outcomes," Stutzman Director Steven Schwartz said. "We look forward to working with RIA on this project."

"We will also look at the role of spirituality as the force of change behind AA participation," explained Kimberly S. Walitzer, Ph.D., deputy director of RIA. Walitzer will serve as co-investigator with Connors on the project. "We want to look at how the development of a spiritual life influences people in their efforts to stop abusing alcohol."

UB's Research Institute on Addictions, a national leader in the study of alcohol and substance abuse, is currently celebrating its 30th anniversary.