The Impact of Trauma and Spiritual Experience on Relapse Among Substance Addicted Individuals


Jane A. Hull

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling Psychology & Community Services


Addiction to substances has a devastating impact on the lives of individuals, their families, and communities. For those who attempt to recover, repairing the damage to self and others while walking through the emotional turmoil of early recovery is often an insurmountable task. Researchers remain unclear what works to make some substance abusers find long-te abstinence while others return to the downward spiral of active addiction. This study examines the impact of trauma and spiritual experience on the recovery and/or relap.v1 o; addicted individuals. Participants are drawn from addiction treatment centers and vi ne w .p'per advertisements and personal contacts with the recovering community in North Dakota and Minnesota. Respondents were surveyed regarding their history of substance abuse, abstinent periods, and relapse, as well as their spiritual experiences and life stressors.

The Life Stressor Checklist-Revised was administered to determine the presence and the severity of trauma symptoms. The Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT) was administered to participants to determine the occurrence of spiritual experience. Analysis was completed using multiple regression. Relapse is the criterion variable; history of trauma and history of spiritual experiences are the two predictor variables. Findings are discussed in terms of the impact of trauma and of spiritual experience upon recovery/relapse. In addition, interesting results are discussed relative to the correlations found between the presence of trauma and the addiction of first and second degree relatives.

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