College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Second Advisor

Jan Faust

Third Advisor

Steven N. Gold

Keywords

12-step recovery, attachment theory, Narcotics Anonymous, psychological sense of community, psychological well-being, social support

Abstract

Approximately 10% of adults living in the United States meet criteria for a Substance Use Disorder. Although 12-step groups are considered evidence-based practices for substance use problems, an understanding of the underlying mechanisms by which they facilitate recovery practices remains in its infancy. The purpose of the current study was to explore whether attachment could be considered a possible mediator of the effects of recovery practices on positive psychosocial outcomes. Participants (N = 112) were self-identified NA members from 26 U.S. states who completed an online survey assessing attachment style, psychosocial sense of community, psychological well-being, and various other recovery and psychosocial constructs. Results indicated a number of recovery-related practices emerged as significant predictors of secure attachment, over and above covariates. For example, higher levels of home group comfort were associated with increased probability of secure attachment classification (by self-report). In general, psychological sense of community did not significantly predict secure attachment, over and above covariates. Although attachment predicted psychological well-being in univariate models, it generally failed to predict psychological well-being in models that included covariates and recovery-related predictors. Theoretically, these data suggest that functional social support variables are primary recovery-related predictors implicated in NA-involvement, above and beyond other structural social support variables. This further suggests that attachment-related dimensions of 12-step interventions may be integral to recovery outcomes.

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