207605 Religiosity among Female Methamphetamine Users in San Francisco

Monday, November 9, 2009: 3:26 PM

Alexandra Lutnick, MA , Urban Health Program, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
Jennifer Lorvick, MPH , Urban Health Program, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
Lynn D. Wenger, MPH, MSW , Urban Health Program, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
Philippe Bourgois, PhD , Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA, PA
Jeffrey Klausner, MD, MPH , STD Prevention and Control Services, SFDPH, San Francisco, CA
Michèle Thorsen, BA , Urban Health Program, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
Alex Kral, PhD , Urban Health Program, RTI International, San Francisco, CA
Background: Religiosity is associated with decreased health risk behaviors and positive mental health outcomes. Although examined among substance users in recovery, a paucity of research exists on the religiosity of current substance users. We examine associations between religiosity, mental health, substance use, sexual risk and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among methamphetamine-using women in San Francisco.

Methods: Participants (n=240) were recruited using respondent-driven sampling. They completed a quantitative survey and testing/counseling for HIV/STIs. ”High religiosity” (HR) is defined as a composite score >= 26 on the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire (SCSRFQ), and “high risk” sexual behavior is defined as unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with >= 2 male partners in the past 6 months.

Results: 72.1% scored >=26 on the SCSRFQ. HR was more common among women over 30(59.6% vs. 18.3%; p=.03) and African American women (37.5% vs. 20.8%; p<.0001). Neither the prevalence of depression nor levels of social support differed by religiosity. Women with HR were less likely in the past 6 months to have injected speedballs (59.6% vs. 19.6%; p=.03) or heroin (54.2% vs. 15%; p=.001). HR was not associated with “high risk” sexual behavior or HIV/STI prevalence. No association was found between religiosity and desire to quit using methamphetamine, or likelihood of entering outpatient treatment.

Conclusion: HR was common in this sample. However, associations between religiosity and positive health outcomes were not found. Qualitative exploration of the role of religiosity in this population might promote a better understanding of its impact on health behavior.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the ways in which high religiosity is associated with positive health outcomes in methamphetamine-using women 2. List 2 ways in which high religiosity in methamphetamine-using women is not associated with positive health outcomes.

Keywords: Substance Abuse, Religion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the study coordinator for this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.