The evidence base for the effectiveness of alcoholics anonymous: Implications for social work practice

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Abstract

Scholars have been struggling with the problem of studying Alcoholics Anonymous scientifically since the 1960s. Several defining elements of AA make randomized clinical trials impossible: there are no membership records; self-selection can account for change; membership boundaries are fluid; ethical considerations prohibit use of control groups; and AA varies considerably from meeting to meeting. Contemporary scholars continue to seek empirical evidence for the effectiveness of AA. This paper describes a systematic review of AA research literature and an analysis of the past ten years of empirical findings. Methods, variables, outcomes, sampling, and theory are addressed with implications for social work practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-48
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice in the Addictions
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 23 2008

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • 12-step
  • Addiction
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alcoholism
  • Evidence base
  • Recovery
  • Self help groups
  • Substance abuse

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