Social and transitional identity: exploring social networks and their significance in a therapeutic community setting

David William Best, Dan Lubman, Michael Savic, Ann S Wilson, Genevieve Anita Dingle, Alexander S Haslam, Catherine Haslam, Jolanda Jetten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


There is considerable literature indicating the importance of social connectedness and its relationship to wellbeing. For problem substance users, a similar literature emphasises the importance of the transition from a social network supportive of use to one that fosters recovery. Within this framework, the therapeutic community (TC) is seen as a critical location for adopting a transitional identity (i.e. from a drug user to a member of the TC ), as part of the emergence of a recovery identity following treatment. The purpose of this paper is to outline a model for conceptualising and measuring identity based on the theories of social identity and recovery capital, and pilots this model within a TC setting. Design/methodology/approach - A social identity mapping was used with TC residents to test their identification with using and TC groups, and their relationship to recovery capital. Findings - The network mapping method was acceptable to TC residents, and provided valuable insights into the social networks and social identity of TC residents. Research limitations/implications - This paper explores issues around mapping social identity and its potential in the TC and other residential settings. Originality/value - The paper integrates a number of conceptual models to create a new framework for understanding transitions in social networks during treatment and reports on a novel measurement method underpinning this.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10 - 20
Number of pages11
JournalTherapeutic Communities: the International Journal for Therapeutic and Supportive Organizations
Issue number1 (Art. No.: 17108334)
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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