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.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Novick DM: The medically ill substance abuser. In Lowinson JH, Ruiz P, Millman RB, Langrod JG (eds),Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1992.
Piette JD, Barnett PG, Moos RH: First-time admissions with alcohol-related medical problems: A 10-year follow-up of a national sample of alcoholic patients.Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1998,59: 89–96.
Weisner C, Greenfield T, Room R: Trends in the treatment of alcohol problems in the U.S. general population.American Journal of Public Health, 1995,85: 55–60.
Kessler RC, Mickelson KD, Zhao S: Patterns and correlates of self-help group membership in the United States.Social Policy. 1997,27: 27–46.
Room R, Greenfield T: Alcoholics Anonymous, other 12-step movements, and psychotherapy in the U.S. population, 1990.Addiction. 1993,88: 555–562.
Emrick CD, Tonigan JS, Montgomery H, Little L: Alcoholics Anonymous: What is currently known? In McCrady BS, Miller WR (eds),Research on Alcoholics Anonymous: Opportunities and Alternatives. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies, 1993.
Christo G, Franey C: Drug users' spiritual beliefs, locus of control, and the disease concept in relation to Narcotics Anonymous attendance and six-month outcomes.Drug and Alcohol Depedence. 1995,38: 51–56.
Humphreys K, Mavis BE, Stöffelmayr BE: Are twelve-step programs appropriate for disenfranchised groups?: Evidence from a study of posttreatment mutual help group involvement.Prevention in Human Services. 1994,11: 165–180.
McKay JR, Alterman AI, McLellan AT, Snider EC: Treatment goals, continuity of care, and outcome in a day hospital substance abuse rehabilitation program.American Journal of Psychiatry. 1994,151: 254–259.
Finney JW: Enhancing substance abuse treatment evaluations: Examining mediators and moderators of treatment effects.Journal of Substance Abuse. 1995,7: 135–150.
Humphreys K, Finney JW, Moos RH: Applying a stress and coping framework to research on mutual help organizations.Journal of Community Psychology. 1994,22: 312–327.
Humphreys K, Noke JM: The influence of posttreatment mutual help group participation on the friendship networks of substance abuse patients.American Journal of Community Psychology. 1997,25: 1–17.
Denzin NK:The Recovering Alcoholic. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage, 1987.
Snow MG, Prochaska JO, Rossi JS: Processes of change in Alcoholics Anonymous: Maintenance factors in long-term sobriety.Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1994,55: 362–371.
Morgenstern J, Labouvie E, McCrady BS, Kahler CW, Frey RM: Affiliation with Alcoholics Anonymous following treatment: A study of its therapeutic effects and mechanisms of action.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1997,65: 768–777.
Nealon-Woods MA, Ferrari JR, Jason LA: Twelve-step program use among Oxford House residents: Spirituality or support in sobriety?Journal of Substance Abuse. 1995,7: 311–318.
Ouimette PC, Finney JW, Moos RH: Twelve-step and cognitive-behavioral treatment for substance abuse: A comparison of treatment effectiveness.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 1997,55: 230–240.
Moos RH, Finney JW, Ouimette PC, Suchinsky RT: A comparative evaluation of substance abuse treatment: I. Treatment orientation, amount of care, and 1-year outcomes.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 1999,23: 529–536.
American Psychiatric Association:DSM-III-R: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1987.
Moos RH:Coping Responses Inventory Manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, 1993.
Moos RH, Moos BS:Life Stressors and Social Resources Inventory. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, 1994.
Collins RL, Emont SL, Zywiak WH: Social influence processes in smoking cessation: Postulating predictors of long-term outcome.Journal of Substance Abuse. 1990,2: 389–403.
Jöreskog KG, Sörbom D:LISREL 7: A Guide to the Program and Applications (2nd Ed.). Chicago: SPSS, 1989.
Jöreskog KG: Simultaneous factor analysis in several populations. In Jöreskog KG, Sörbom D (eds),Advances in Factor Analysis and Structural Equation Models. Cambridge, MA: Abt Books, 1979.
Kessler RC, Greenberg DF:Linear Panel Analysis: Models of Quantitative Change. New York: Academic Press, 1981.
Beattie MC, Longabaugh R: Interpersonal factors and posttreatment drinking and subjective well-being.Addiction. 1997,92: 1507–1521.
Moos RH, Finney JW, Cronkite RC:Alcoholism Treatment: Context, Process, and Outcome. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
Humphreys K, Moos RH, Cohen C: Social and community resources and long-term recovery from treated and untreated alcoholism.Journal of Studies on Alcohol. 1997,58: 231–238.
Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Mental Health strategic Health Group and Health Services Research and Development Service.
Drs. Thomas Horvath, Richard Suchinsky, and Karen Boies provided general guidance and administrative support, and Kris Gima and Jennifer Noke assisted in data management. This project also benefitted from the invaluable contributions of the local coordinators, project assistants at each site, and the staff of the Program Evaluation and Resource Center.
About this article
Cite this article
Humphreys, K., Mankowski, E.S., Moos, R.H. et al. Do enhanced friendship networks and active coping mediate the effect of self-help groups on substance abuse?. ann. behav. med. 21, 54 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02895034
- Substance Abuse
- Mediational Model
- Behavioral Medicine
- Substance Abuse Treatment
- Active Coping