Measuring the Discrepancy Between Current and Ideal Spiritual and Religious Functioning in Problem Drinkers

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The idea that spiritual and religious functioning (SRF) is associated with alcohol misuse is generally supported, but problems with typical research methods limit the utility of findings. Problems in SRF were conceptualized as discrepancies between current and ideal SRF. Two separate studies were conducted to develop and evaluate a scale to measure the subjective importance and adequacy of aspects of SRF that seem to be associated with alcohol problems. The 1st study suggested that a questionnaire developed to evaluate self-reported ratings of current and ideal SRF is both internally consistent and temporally stable. In the 2nd study, the questionnaire was administered to persons seeking treatment for alcohol problems and persons who indicated that they had never sought treatment for an alcohol problem. Results indicate that those with a drinking problem were more likely to report substantial discrepancies between current and ideal SRF, supporting the validity of the measure as an indicator of problems in SRF. The usefulness of this method for treatment and research is discussed.

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