Recovery is challenging for persons with substance and co-occurring substance and mental disorders. Establishing positive social support resources and re-building drug- free social networks as part of treatment is important yet difficult since many clients have become alienated from their personal social networks, have """"""""burned out"""""""" supportive relationships, or are embedded in a substance using network. This study examines the role of personal social networks among women diagnosed with substance dependence and co-occurring substance dependence and mental disorders (dual disorders) in the progression through substance abuse treatment and in relation to treatment outcomes. Using a stress and coping framework, the study will measure structural, compositional and social support characteristics of personal social networks at different stages of treatment and recovery. The study seeks to document the composition and evolution of personal social networks and supportive relationships of women throughout the course of substance abuse treatment and for up to one year post treatment. The rationale underlying this study is to contribute to the development of social network interventions as a component of treatment for women with dual disorders. The extent to which clients'social networks either facilitate or hinder client's stage of treatment will be explored, thus providing information that could inform the development of more stage specific social network interventions. The proposed study uses a prospective survey design and will recruit 420 substance dependent women upon intake to one of {three} community based outpatient primary substance abuse treatment programs. Data will be collected at four time points: twice during treatment (within seven days and 30 days of intake) and twice after treatment (at 6 months and 12 months from the intake date).
Aims are: 1. to assess the contribution of personal social networks to post treatment functioning. 2. to study longitudinal patterns of social network relationships of women in substance abuse treatment in order to identify the characteristics of social networks at the various stages of progression during treatment and post treatment. 3. To compare the characteristics of personal social networks of women with substance dependence and women with dual disorders over time.

Public Health Relevance

This examination is important given the emphasis placed by women's substance abuse treatment programs on reducing clients'ties with substance abusing network members and on developing and strengthening ties with non-substance abusing network members and peer self-help programs (i.e. changing people, places and things). Findings from this study will be relevant for engagement and retention of women in treatment and optimal community integration of women post treatment.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Research Project (R01)
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Human Development Research Subcommittee (NIDA)
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Jones, Dionne
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Case Western Reserve University
Schools of Social Work
United States
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Brown, Suzanne; Victor, Bryan; Hicks, Laurel M et al. (2017) Recovery support mediates the relationship between parental warmth and quality of life among women with substance use disorders. Qual Life Res 26:1327-1335
Jun, MinKyoung; Tracy, Elizabeth M; Min, Meeyoung O (2017) Formal and Informal Concrete Support and Discharge Disposition among Women in Substance Abuse Treatment in the U.S. Chongsin Pogon Kwa Sahoe Saop 45:144-169
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Tracy, Elizabeth M; Kim, Hyunsoo; Brown, Suzanne et al. (2012) Substance Abuse Treatment Stage and Personal Networks of Women in Substance Abuse Treatment. J Soc Social Work Res 3:65-79

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