Date of Award

12-1-2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Social Work

Degree Name

Ph.D.

First Advisor

Professor Richard Lyle

Abstract

This study examines the factors contributing to substance abuse among African-American women. The sample of this study consisted of 41 African-American women who identified themselves as substance abusers and were currently receiving treatment in either an inpatient or outpatient facility. African-American women are disproportionately affected by substance abuse, which has made an impact on their personal and family life. Life for African-American women can be immersed with a number of social problems such as poverty, racism, and sexism, which make life difficult to manage. In an effort to manage, many African-American women turn to a life of addiction. Once addicted, the African-American woman finds herself with limited effective options for treatment.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there was a relationship between spirituality, African self-consciousness, and substance abuse among African- American women. An additional objective was to determine whether spirituality was a predictor of substance abuse among African-American women. This study was based on the premise that little research has been conducted on factors that relate to lifetime years of substance abuse among this population, more specifically Spirituality and African self-consciousness.

An exploratory research design was utilized. Statistical treatment of the data employed descriptive statistics, Pearson's r, chi-square, and logistic regression analysis, hi addition, two focus groups were used to explore the respondents' ascribed meanings of the two independent variables of this study. While the findings did not show a significant relationship between Spirituality and substance abuse or between African self-consciousness and substance abuse, Spirituality was found to be a predictor of heroin use among this population.

Additional findings in qualitative analysis as respondents self-disclosed about the relationship between Spirituality, African self-consciousness, and their substance abuse experience suggest there the two variables are related. Implications for conducting more qualitative analysis with this population are discussed.

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