Young people’s experiences of 12 step groups

Students on Campus 6DJ Mac highlights a recent study of 302 18-24 year olds entering residential treatment and their opinions of 12 step groups. The study also included follow-up at 3, 6 and 9 months.

He pulls a few quotes from the paper and one, in particular, leapt out to me.

Clinicians can highlight that 12-step specific content was rarely cited as a reason for discontinuing 12-step attendance among young adults.

He also summarized their findings:

What was most helpful?
  • Removing a sense of isolation
  • Validating experiences
  • A sense of belonging, acceptance and validation
  • Installation of hope (being inspired/encouraged by another member who has a similar problem).
  • Altruism (members help and support each other).

12-step specific responses were rare leading the authors to conclude that ‘general group therapy factors were more important to these young adults in early recovery/post-treatment.’

What did they like least?
  • Meeting structure (length, repetition)
  • Having to motivate oneself to get there

Interestingly, less than 1% of young people found meetings unhelpful.

Why did they stop going?
  • Logistical barriers (e.g. lack of transport)
  • Low recovery motivation and interest
Why did some never attend?
  • Didn’t need treatment
  • Don’t have a problem

1 Comment

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One response to “Young people’s experiences of 12 step groups

  1. Doesn’t motivation to attened generally increase when they start developing personal friendships/relationships in the meetings. I would think that it would.
    Participation, as in the ability to be useful to other people should increase their desire to come. Most people like to help other people.
    I would think motivation to attend the meetings would become easier and easier with each passing meeting.

    Maybe I am thinking of the maintenance phase. Newbies go to meetings daily and sometimes more. Yeah, that would suck. I get it now.