Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

How Social Relationships Influence Substance Use Disorder Recovery: A Collaborative Narrative Study

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  • Henning Pettersen, Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
  • ,
  • Anne Landheim, SERAF -Norwegian Centre for Addiction Research, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
  • ,
  • Ivar Skeie, District Psychiatric Centre Gjøvik, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway.
  • ,
  • Stian Biong, Faculty for Health Sciences, University of South-Eastern Norway, Kongsberg, Norway.
  • ,
  • Morten Brodahl, Norwegian National Advisory Unit on Concurrent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders and Mental Health Division, Innlandet Hospital Trust, Brumunddal, Norway.
  • ,
  • Jeppe Oute
  • Larry Davidson, Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.

Individuals with a substance use disorder (SUD) often have fewer social support network resources than those without SUDs. This qualitative study examined the role of social relationships in achieving and maintaining stable recovery after many years of SUD. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 participants, each of whom had been diagnosed with a SUD and each of whom had been abstinent for at least 5 years. A resource group of peer consultants in long-term recovery from SUDs contributed to the study planning, preparation, and initial analyses. The relationship that most participants described as helpful for initiating abstinence was recognition by a peer or a caring relationship with a service provider or sibling. These findings suggest that, to reach and maintain abstinence, it is important to maintain positive relationships and to engage self-agency to protect oneself from the influences of negative relationships. Substance use disorder service providers should increase the extent to which they involve the social networks of clients when designing new treatment approaches. Service providers should also focus more on individualizing services to meet their clients on a personal level, without neglecting professionalism or treatment strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1178221819833379
JournalSubstance Abuse: Research and Treatment
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • ABUSE, ADDICTION, ALCOHOL, ALLIANCE, ASSOCIATION, DRUGS, EDUCATION, IMPACT, PEOPLE, PERSPECTIVE, client experiences, collaborative research, narrative approach, recovery capital, social relationships, substance use disorder

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

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