Ablaze7-year trajectories of Alcoholics Anonymous attendance and associations with treatment

Although many members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are introduced to AA during treatment, the relationship between treatment and AA attendance over time is unknown.

This paper describes four latent classes of AA attendance among 586 dependent alcoholics interviewed by telephone 1, 3, 5 and 7 years after baseline, and models the relationship between treatment exposure and AA attendance in each class.

There was;

  • a low AA group (averaging fewer than 5 meetings at most follow-ups),
  • a medium AA group (about 50 meetings a year at each follow-up),
  • a descending AA group (about 150 meetings year 1, then decreasing steeply), and
  • a high AA group (about 200 meetings at 1 year, then decreasing gradually by year 7).

Declines in meeting attendance were not always accompanied by decreases in abstinence.

After accounting for the effect of time on AA attendance (i.e., the “ups-and-downs” that occur over time), treatment exposure was minimally related to AA attendance in all but the descending AA group, where it was negatively associated (p < 0.001).

Considering AA patterns over time highlights a different role for treatment in AA attendance than what is gleaned from analyses at single timepoints.

Research; Lee Ann Kaskutas, Jason Bond and Lyndsay Ammon Avalos. Addictive Behaviors, Volume 34, Issue 12, December 2009, Pages 1029-1035