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Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous: The Role of Spiritual Orientation and AA Member Affiliation

NCJ Number
Journal of Addictive Diseases Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Dated: April - June 2012 Pages: 173-182
Marc Galanter, M.D.; Helen Dermatis, Ph.D.; Courtney Santucci, B.A.
Date Published
April 2012
10 pages
This study examined youth Alcholics Anonymous (AA) members prior substance use, treatment experience and duration of abstinence.
Empirical findings characterizing long-term, committed Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members are limited, particularly among younger members. The authors studied a sample of 266 highly committed attendees (mean age, 27 years) at an annual conference of Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (YPAA), whose first encounter with AA was 6 years previously. Most (72 percent) had abused drugs and alcohol, and 36 percent had never received substance abuse treatment. They now reported a mean duration of abstinence of 44 months and had attended an average of 233 AA meetings in the previous year; 66 percent had served as AA sponsors, and 92 percent reported experiencing an AA "spiritual awakening," itself associated with a decreased likelihood of alcohol craving. Scores on AA beliefs, affiliation to other members, and the experience of spiritual awakening were associated with lower depression scores. These findings are discussed to clarify the nature of long-term AA membership. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.