Year: 2020 Source: Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. (2020). 12(3), 324–333. SIEC No: 20200848

Many people draw strength and comfort from a relationship with God or a Higher Power in recovery from substance use disorders (SUDs). However, research indicates divine struggles may increase risk for suicide. Focusing on 144 men in the first 6 months of recovery from SUDs who were recruited from community-based programs providing housing and substance abuse treatment services, this study examined (a) the role of divine struggles in participants’ perceived likelihood of attempting suicide in the future and (b) whether conceptions of God moderated a probable divine struggle–suicide risk link. Greater severity of divine struggles was associated with higher perceived likelihood of attempting suicide in bivariate and multivariate analyses. When accounting for recent suicide ideation and major depressive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder symptomatology, interactive links also emerged between divine struggles and God concepts. Specifically, while participants who viewed God in cruel or distant terms reported worse suicide risk in general, divine struggle had an increasingly salient contribution on suicide probability to the extent to which these experiences were likely anomalous from propositional conceptions of God’s traits or attributes. Overall, these findings highlight the utility of assessing for experiences and views of God when screening for suicide risk among people in recovery from SUDs and when considering 12-step programs or other spiritually integrated treatment options based in a theistic framework.