Young adults undergoing addiction treatment benefit from regular participation in Twelve Step-based self-help groups after discharge, according to a naturalistic study published electronically and in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study was conducted collaboratively by the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden.
"Very little is known about the effects of Twelve Step attendance and involvement on outcomes for young adults. Our study shows that Twelve Step community resources, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide local, accessible and cost-effective recovery resources for young adults during a stage in life when such support is rare," explains John F. Kelly, Ph.D., of the Center for Addiction Medicine. Kelly authored the study with Robert L. Stout, Ph.D., of Decision Sciences Institute in Providence, Rhode Island, and Valerie Slaymaker, Ph.D., of the Butler Center for Research at Hazelden in Center City, Minnesota.
"Alcohol and drug use is high among young adults in general compared to other age groups. Young people who are in early recovery from addiction face a tough time finding social support and supportive peer networks," said Slaymaker. "Because typical AA and NA groups are mostly comprised of middle-aged adults, we were pleased to find young adults can affiliate and fully engage in these support groups, and their engagement improves substance use outcomes over time."