Assistant Professor Alexandra Wimberly, PhD is a co-author of new research published in Substance Use & Misuse. The work is titled "Effects of Social Support and 12-Step Involvement on Recovery among People in Continuing Care for Cocaine Dependence."
Social networks that support recovery lead to enhanced treatment outcomes and sobriety regardless if this support stems from family, peer groups or 12-Step programs. Treatment process factors including readiness to change and commitment to abstinence also impact substance use. However, little is understood about the relationship between social support to treatment process factors during and after treatment for substance use disorders. Objectives: To identify the ways in which different social networks foster substance use change in a sample of individuals with cocaine dependence from intensive outpatient programs (IOPs). Methods: Data were drawn from two studies examining adults (N = 489) with cocaine dependence in IOPs for substance use disorders collected between 2004 and 2009. Assessment data were collected at 3- to 6-month intervals from baseline to 24-months and included the University of Rhode Island change assessment questionnaire, timeline followback, thoughts about abstinence, perceived social support – friend, and family versions and analyzed using GEE and mediational analyses. Results: Greater perceived friend social support was associated with greater readiness to change whereas greater perceived familial social support was associated with substance use goal; greater social support from both friends and family were associated with less substance use. Greater AA/NA participation was associated with substance use goal and readiness to change, and less substance use. Substance use goals partially mediated the impact of social support on later substance use. Conclusions/Importance: While peer and familial support are key to sustained recovery, their impact differentially affects treatment process variables. This information could be used to inform social support treatment interventions.