We’re seeing a growing body of research on the mechanisms of change in 12 step recovery. Tonigan and Greenfield recently published an article in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
Working the 12 steps is widely prescribed for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members although the relative merits of different methods for measuring step work have received minimal attention and even less is known about how step work predicts later substance use. The current study (1) compared endorsements of step work on an face-valid or direct measure, the Alcoholics Anonymous Inventory (AAI), with an indirect measure of step work, the General Alcoholics Anonymous Tools of Recovery (GAATOR); (2) evaluated the underlying factor structure of the GAATOR and changes in step work over time; (3) examined changes in the endorsement of step work over time; and (4) investigated how, if at all, 12-step work predicted later substance use. New AA affiliates (N = 130) completed assessments at intake, 3, 6, and 9 months. Significantly more participants endorsed step work on the GAATOR than on the AAI for nine of the 12 steps. An exploratory factor analysis revealed a two-factor structure for the GAATOR comprising behavioral step work and spiritual step work. Behavioral step work did not change over time, but was predicted by having a sponsor, while Spiritual step work decreased over time and increases were predicted by attending 12-step meetings or treatment. Behavioral step work did not prospectively predict substance use. In contrast, spiritual step work predicted percent days abstinent. Behavioral step work and spiritual step work appear to be conceptually distinct components of step work that have distinct predictors and unique impacts on outcomes.
- Mental Illness not a barrier to 12 step benefits (addictionandrecoverynews.wordpress.com)
- Comparing 12-Step and Non-Step Models of Addiction Recovery (iretablog.org)