Religiosity and Substance Use Disorder in Kenya: What are the Implications on the Future of Rehabilitation Interventions?

  • Jacqueline A. Anundo PhD Candidate in Clinical Psychology, Daystar University, P.O. Box 16373-00100, Nairobi, Kenya
  • Caroline A. Muaka Lecturer School of Human & Social Sciences. Daystar University, P. O. Box 44400-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
  • Kennedy Ongaro Dean, School of Human & Social Sciences, Daystar University, P. O. Box 44400-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Health crisis, Substance use disorders, Religiosity, Protective factors


Substance use is increasingly becoming a global problem and a constant health crisis that affects each region of the world. Substance use tends to induce certain disorders and this makes users prone to psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis among others. Successful treatment for substance use disorders (SUD) must take into account other underlying factors that either protect or predispose the patients to SUD. Religiosity has been suggested as one of the most important protective factors against drug use, preventing individuals from using drugs even if they live in precarious environments. However, previous studies in Kenya have not investigated the links between religiosity and substance use disorder in the country prompting the need for the study. The study adopted a quasi-experimental design targeting 6 government accredited rehabilitation centers in Kenya. A sample size of 120 participants were selected through convenience sampling. The Socio-Demographic Questionnaire and substance use assessment tools consisting of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and the Alcohol, Smoking and Substance Involvement Screening Test (ASSIST) were used for data collection. Quantitative data generated was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics involving frequency distributions, percentages and chi-square respectively. The study found that religion was a significant risk factor rather than a protective factor among persons with SUD in Kenya including some who had already undergone treatment. The study recommends that the religious message in the rehabilitation programs should seek to reinforce behaviour through engendering factual understanding of one’s behaviours and their spiritual realities.


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How to Cite
Jacqueline A. Anundo, Caroline A. Muaka, & Ongaro, K. (2021). Religiosity and Substance Use Disorder in Kenya: What are the Implications on the Future of Rehabilitation Interventions?. International Journal of Sciences: Basic and Applied Research (IJSBAR), 60(3), 239-249. Retrieved from