Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 54-60

Do enhanced friendship networks and active coping mediate the effect of self-help groups on substance abuse?

  • Keith HumphreysAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (152-MPD)Stanford University School of Medicine
  • , Eric S. MankowskiAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (152-MPD)Stanford University School of Medicine
  • , Rudolf H. MoosAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (152-MPD)Stanford University School of Medicine
  • , John W. FinneyAffiliated withCenter for Health Care Evaluation, VA Palo Alto Health Care System (152-MPD)Stanford University School of Medicine

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Abstract

Self-help groups are the most commonly sought source of help for substance abuse problems, but few studies have evaluated the mechanisms through which they exert their effects on members. The present project evaluates mediators of the effects of self-help groups in a sample of 2,337 male veterans who were treated for substance abuse. The majority of participants became involved in self-help groups after inpatient treatment, and this involvement predicted reduced substance use at 1-year follow-up. Both enhanced friendship networks and increased active coping responses appeared to mediate these effects. Implications for self-help groups and professional treatments are discussed.