Emergent Social Environments as Predictors of Recovery Resident Outcomes

Investigators are examining how recovery-related attitudes, behaviors, and social relationships of residents in an alcohol recovery house influence continued sobriety.

For many substance dependent individuals, available courses of treatment—usually limited to a few weeks-- are insufficient to sustain recovery. Previous studies have suggested that a significantly longer period of support for a newly-sober lifestyle is necessary. This type of support is available in sober living environments called ‘Recovery Houses’. In particular, the Oxford House network is a consortium of recovery houses that adhere to a common set of organizational guidelines which have been found to significantly improve long term outcomes for residents.

This project will take a dynamic social network-based approach to develop a model seeking to explain how Oxford House residents' recovery-related attitudes, behaviors, and social relationships co-evolve, and how these emergent individual characteristics and house-level social structures subsequently link to individuals' recovery, including adequate length of stay, social integration, and ultimately continued sobriety.

This work is expected to inform efforts to improve the social experience of house residents in ways that discourage early dropout, and maximize learning of new abstinence-supportive behaviors, attitudes, and coping strategies. We also hope to develop guidelines for extending this model of post-treatment support to a larger proportion of the population in need.

This is a five-year subaward from DePaul University funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.


6/1/15 - 5/31/20


National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)