Recovery support mediates the relationship between parental warmth and quality of life among women with substance use disorders



Historically, recovery from substance use disorders (SUD) has focused exclusively on the use or non-use of the addictive substance(s). More recently, SAMSHA [1] has defined recovery in a more holistic way, using quality of life (QoL) as a measure of recovery for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders. However, little is known about the myriad experiences that inform and affect QoL for individuals with substance use disorders. Using an attachment informed stress-buffering framework, the purpose of this study was to examine the contribution of parental warmth and recovery support to QoL among women in substance abuse treatment.


Linear regression and bootstrapping were used to examine direct and mediated effects of parental warmth and recovery support on QoL among 318 women recruited from three inner-city women-only addiction treatment programs. Relationships were assessed across three domains of quality of life: physical, psychological, and social.


Parental warmth and recovery support were directly associated with psychological and social QoL, when controlling for the influence of trauma symptoms. Recovery support mediated the relationship between parental warmth and QoL across psychological and social QoL domains.


Findings suggest that interventions that focus on attachment-related constructs to enhance recovery support may improve quality of life among women with SUD.

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The project described was supported by Award Number R01DA022994 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.


This study was funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse grant number RO1DA022994.

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Correspondence to Suzanne Brown.

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All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in this study.

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Brown, S., Victor, B., Hicks, L.M. et al. Recovery support mediates the relationship between parental warmth and quality of life among women with substance use disorders. Qual Life Res 26, 1327–1335 (2017).

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  • Women
  • Substance dependence
  • Recovery support
  • Quality of life
  • Parental warmth