‘I like checking in on myself’: Control group experiences in a strengths-based addiction recovery study, with implications for self-monitoring and measurement reactivity

Amy R. Krentzman, Julie C. Gass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

New definitions of addiction recovery are aligned with social work’s strengths-based orientation: recovery from addiction is not only a process of reducing pathology but also a process of flourishing and thriving. In response to new recovery definitions, researchers are now designing studies that measure strengths-based, multidimensional aspects of recovery instead of measuring substance use or symptoms exclusively. This study employs grounded theory to investigate this change in measurement strategy; its impact on people in recovery; and its implications for social work research, existing theory, and interventions social workers employ to support client recovery. Thirty-two participants (47% female, M = 40 years in age, 16% BIPOC) in treatment for substance use disorders participated in interviews after completing surveys daily for 28 days that assessed strengths-based, multidimensional aspects of recovery. Participants reported that completion of surveys led them to realize aspects of self that were previously hidden from awareness, use that information to determine where they ‘were at’ in their recovery (doing well, could be doing more, not doing well); and, based on that determination, take steps to strengthen recovery. A minority of participants expressed despair when surveys revealed painful information and these participants did not describe using skills to regulate negative affect. This study found that strengths-based, multidimensional recovery-oriented surveys can provide therapeutic benefit. This grounded theory analysis extends existing theory to include the influence of coping skills on an individual’s ability to derive benefit from the self-monitoring of diverse aspects of their recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalQualitative Social Work
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Keywords

  • addiction recovery
  • alcohol use disorder
  • control groups
  • grounded theory
  • measurement reactivity
  • self-monitoring
  • substance use disorder

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