Objective: Individuals with dual diagnoses benefit from participation in mutual-help groups, though it is unclear how much such participation contributes to outcomes when accounting for utilization of treatment. Methods: We used mixed-model regressions to examine associations between participation in mutual-help groups reported at 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year follow-ups with substance use and psychiatric outcomes among outpatients with dual diagnoses (N = 304), while controlling for amounts of substance use disorder and mental health outpatient treatment. Results: Follow-up rates were 81%, 82%, and 84% at 6 months, 1 year, and 2 years, respectively. Mean involvement in mutual-help groups (scale of 0 to 14) ranged between 4.6 (SD = 4.5) and 6.1 (SD = 4.5). When controlling for baseline status and treatment amounts, more mutual-help group meeting attendance, F = 13.98, p < .001, and involvement, F = 19.32, p < .001, were associated with fewer days of alcohol use. Likewise, after controlling for baseline status and treatment amounts, more mutual-help group meeting attendance, F = 4.57, p = .03, and involvement, F = 5.94, p = .02, were associated with less drug use. Mutual-help group participation was not associated with number of psychiatric symptoms. Mental health treatment was associated with fewer days of alcohol use, F = 4.58, p = .03. Conclusions: Facilitating mutual-help group involvement among individuals with dual diagnoses, as well as attendance at more meetings, is of potential benefit to reducing alcohol and drug use.
Erin Woodhead, Alexandra Hindash, and Christine Timko. "Dual Diagnosis, Mutual-Help Use, and Outcomes: A Naturalistic Follow-Up" Journal of Dual Diagnosis (2013): 158-164. doi:10.1080/15504263.2013.777986