Do 12 step meeting attendance trajectories over 9 years predict abstinence?

This study grouped treatment-seeking individuals (n = 1825) by common patterns of 12-step attendance using 5 waves of data (75% interviewed Year 9) to isolate unique characteristics and use-related outcomes distinguishing each class profile.

  • The “high” class reported the highest attendance and abstention.
  • The “descending” class reported high baseline alcohol severity, long treatment episodes, and high initial attendance and abstinence, but by Year 5, their attendance and abstinence dropped.
  • The “early-drop” class, which started with high attendance and abstinence but with low problem severity, reported no attendance after Year 1.
  • The “rising” class, with fairly high alcohol and psychiatric severity throughout, reported initially low attendance, followed by increasing attendance paralleling their abstention.
  • Last, the “low” and “no” classes, which reported low problem severity and very low/no attendance, had the lowest abstention.
  • Female gender and high alcohol severity predicted attendance all years.

Consistent with a sustained benefit for 12-step exposure, abstinence patterns aligned much like attendance profiles.

Jane Witbrodt, Jennifer Mertens, Lee Ann Kaskutas, Jason Bond, Felicia Chi, Constance Weisner, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment