Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Social processes explaining the benefits of Al-Anon participation.

Timko C, Halvorson M, Kong C, Moos RH. Social processes explaining the benefits of Al-Anon participation. Psychology of addictive behaviors : journal of the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors. 2015 Dec 1; 29(4):856-63.

Related HSR&D Project(s)

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


This study examined social processes of support, goal direction, provision of role models, and involvement in rewarding activities to explain benefits of participating in Al-Anon, a 12-step mutual-help program for people concerned about another person's substance use. Newcomers to Al-Anon were studied at baseline and 6 months later, at which time they were identified as having either sustained attendance or dropped out. Among both newcomers and established Al-Anon members ("old-timers"), we also used number of Al-Anon meetings attended during follow-up to indicate extent of participation. Social processes significantly mediated newcomers' sustained attendance status versus dropped out and outcomes of Al-Anon in the areas of life context (e.g., better quality of life, better able to handle problems due to the drinker), improved positive symptoms (e.g., higher self-esteem, more hopeful), and decreased negative symptoms (e.g., less abuse, less depressed). Social processes also significantly mediated newcomers' number of meetings attended and outcomes. However, among old-timers, Al-Anon attendance was not associated with outcomes, so the potential mediating role of social processes could not be examined, but social processes were associated with outcomes. Findings add to the growing body of work identifying mechanisms by which 12-step groups are effective, by showing that bonding, goal direction, and access to peers in recovery and rewarding pursuits help to explain associations between sustained Al-Anon participation among newcomers and improvements on key concerns of Al-Anon attendees. Al-Anon is free of charge and widely available, making it a potentially cost-effective public health resource for help alleviating negative consequences of concern about another's addiction.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.