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Dually diagnosed patients' benefits of mutual-help groups and the role of social anxiety.

Timko C, Cronkite RC, McKellar J, Zemore S, Moos RH. Dually diagnosed patients' benefits of mutual-help groups and the role of social anxiety. Journal of substance abuse treatment. 2013 Feb 1; 44(2):216-23.

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There is debate about whether dually diagnosed patients benefit from mutual-help groups (MHGs), partly because social anxiety may make participation problematic. We examined dually diagnosed patients' participation in MHGs and outcomes at 6, 12, and 24 months post-treatment, and the extent to which social anxiety was associated with participation. We also examined whether MHG participation and social anxiety were related to outcomes, and whether social anxiety moderated associations between participation and outcomes. We found high rates of MHG participation. Among patients who attended at least one meeting, outcomes were positive. Social anxiety was not associated with levels of MHG participation, but more participation was associated with better outcomes. When social anxiety moderated associations between MHG participation and outcomes, patients with more social anxiety benefited more from participation. Treated dually diagnosed patients participate in, and benefit from, MHGs, and participation and benefits are comparable, or even strengthened, among more socially-anxious patients.

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