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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Multiple Dimensions of Spirituality in Recovery: A Lagged Mediational Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous’ Principal Theoretical Mechanism of Behavior Change

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) states that recovery is possible through spiritual experiences and spiritual awakenings. Research examining spirituality as a mediator of AA's effect on drinking has been mixed. It is unknown whether such findings are due to variations in the operationalization of key constructs, such as AA and spirituality. 

To answer these questions, the authors used a longitudinal model to test 2 dimensions of AA as focal predictors and 6 dimensions of spirituality as possible mediators of AA's association with drinking.
Data from the first 18 months of a 3-year longitudinal study of 364 alcohol-dependent individuals were analyzed. Structural equation modeling was used to replicate the analyses of Kelly et al. (Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2011;35:454–463) and to compare AA attendance and AA involvement as focal predictors. Multiple regression analyses were used to determine which spirituality dimensions changed as the result of AA participation. A trimmed, data-driven model was employed to test multiple mediation paths simultaneously. 

The findings of the Kelly et al. study were replicated. AA involvement was a stronger predictor of drinking outcomes than AA attendance. AA involvement predicted increases in private religious practices, daily spiritual experiences, and forgiveness of others. However, only private religious practices mediated the relationship between AA and drinking.

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