AA/NA safe for teens?

photo credit: TomT

Safety concerns are occasionally raised about referring adolescents to twelve step groups. A recent study evaluates the safety of AA/NA for teens:

By 12-month follow-up, 57.5% reported some AA/NA attendance with a combined lifetime exposure of 5,340 meetings. Of these, 21.9% reported at least one negative experience, which was more common among NA than AA attendees. Overall, youth reported feeling very safe at meetings, and ratings did not differ by age or gender. Reasons for discontinuation or nonattendance were unrelated to safety or negative incidents. Weighing risks against documented benefits, these preliminary findings suggest that referral to AA/NA should not be discouraged, but, similar to adults, youth experiences at meetings should be monitored.