Social identity, social networks and recovery capital in emerging adulthood: A pilot study

Emily Mawson, David William Best, Melinda Beckwith, Genevieve Anita Dingle, Dan Lubman

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69 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It has been argued that recovery from substance dependence relies on a change in identity, with past research focused on personal identity . This study assessed support for a social identity model of recovery in emerging adults through examining associations between social identity, social networks, recovery capital, and quality of life. Methods: Twenty participants aged 18-21 in residential treatment for substance misuse were recruited from four specialist youth drug treatment services - three detoxification facilities and one psychosocial rehabilitation facility in Victoria, Australia. Participants completed a detailed social network interview exploring the substance use of groups in their social networks and measures of quality of life, recovery capital, and social identity. Results: Lower group substance use was associated with higher recovery capital, stronger identification with non-using groups, and greater importance of non-using groups in the social network. Additionally, greater identification with and importance of non-using groups were associated with better environmental quality of life, whereas greater importance conferred on using groups was associated with reduced environmental quality of life. Conclusions: Support was found for the role of social identity processes in reported recovery capital and quality of life. Future research in larger, longitudinal samples is required to improve understanding of social identity processes during treatment and early recovery and its relationship to recovery stability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 11
Number of pages11
JournalSubstance Abuse: Treatment, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number45
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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