Social network correlates of participation in telephone continuing care for alcohol dependence

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Background and Objectives:Research on face-to-face treatment for substance misuse suggests that patients' social networks may impact treatment entry and participation, but there has been no similar research on entry and participation in telephone-based continuing care. We examined whether alcohol-specific social support predicted engagement and participation in telephone continuing care for alcohol dependence, and whether treatment participation resulted in beneficial changes in participants' social networks.Methods:Participants were 252 adults (162 male) enrolled in a randomized clinical trial testing the effectiveness of telephone continuing care for alcohol dependence. Participants who completed 3 weeks of intensive outpatient treatment were randomly assigned to treatment as usual, telephone monitoring (TM; N = 83), or telephone monitoring and brief counseling (TMC; N = 83). TM and TMC included 18 months of telephone treatment. Alcohol-specific social support was measured with the Important People Inventory at baseline and 6, 12, 18, and 24-month follow-up.Results:Alcohol-specific social support did not predict entry into TM or TMC. Among those who entered telephone treatment (N = 127), participants with higher network percentage of daily drinkers, higher percentage of network members who accept drinking, and lower percentage of network members who do not accept drinking completed more continuing care calls. There was no effect of continuing care participation on alcohol-specific social support over 24 months of follow-up.Conclusion:Participants with more problematic social networks may self-select additional support in the form of telephone continuing care. Telephone continuing care does not appear to result in social network change. (Am J Addict 2014;23:447–452)

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