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Peer-related services in collegiate recovery programs reported as beneficial among college students in recovery

It has been shown that campus-based recovery programs (CRPs) support students in recovery for substance use disorders and mental health disorders, typically in isolation. A recent study explored outcomes from a novel collegiate recovery program that uses a model of recovery that includes integrated support services for students in recovery. Participants (N = 321) were University of North Texas undergraduate and graduate students who completed an online survey. The survey included questions regarding demographics, recovery status and CRP involvement. It also consisted of an assessment of recovery capital (ARC) and an assessment of quality of life using the World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief Questionnaire (WHOQOL-BREF). The authors used Spearman’s rho to calculate correlations between the ARC, WHOQOL-BREF and the independent variables mentioned above. Results showed that 16.8% of students identified that they were in recovery from a behavioral health disorder, including substance use and mental health disorders, as well as co-occurring disorders. Of those in recovery from mental health disorders, depressive and anxiety-related disorders were reported most often, which was followed by disordered eating and bipolar disorder. Of the participants that identified as in recovery, 25.9% reported that they actively participate in the UNT collegiate recovery program. Those participants most often reported that the most beneficial services offered by the program were peer-related services or resources, including recovery meetings. Participants in recovery that did not participate in the CRP reported most often utilizing professional therapy as their primary program of recovery (46.3%), which was followed by 12-Step programs (22.3%) and non-12-Step abstinence-based programs (9.3%). Furthermore, those in recovery that participated in the CRP reported using 12-Step programs as their primary program of recovery (50%) most often, followed by professional therapy (21.4%) and non-12-Step abstinence-based programs (14.2%). In addition, significant positive correlations were found between total ARC scores and CRP scholarship services (p= 0.39) as well as between the WHOQOL-BREF psychological domain and the CRP scholarship assistance services (p = 0.20).

Take away: College students reported that CRP peer-related services were among the most beneficial to their personal recovery.

Ashford, R. D., Brown, A. M., & Curtis, B. (2017). Collegiate recovery programs: the integrated behavioral health model. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 1-12.

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