Spiritual Beliefs, World Assumptions, and HIV Risk Behavior Among Heroin and Cocaine Users

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The relationship between spirituality and HIV risk behavior in a sample of 34 inner-city cocaine-using methadone-maintained patients was examined. Spirituality was operationally defined in terms of “life meaningfulness” and included the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith (T. G. Plante & M. T. Boccaccini, 1997b) and the World Assumptions Scale (R. Janoff-Bulman, 1989; assessing benevolence, meaningfulness, and worthiness of the self). Hierarchical multiple regression analyses of self-reported drug- and sex-related risk behavior were conducted with sex and race entered as control variables. The full models accounted for 23% and 42% of the variance in drug- and sex-related risk behavior, respectively. Strength of spiritual/religious faith (β = .37) and belief in a benevolent (β = .50) and meaningful (β = .46) world were independent predictors of sex-related, but not drug-related, HIV preventive behavior.

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