The Twelve Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous: Psychometric measure validation and mediational testing as a 12-step specific mechanism of behavior change



BACKGROUND: Empirical support for the recovery utility of 12-step mutual-help organizations (MHOs) has led to increased investigation of how such organizations confer benefit. The Twelve Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) feature prominently in 12-step philosophy and culture and are one of the few documented explications of the cognitive, affective, and behavioral benefits that members might accrue. This study investigated the psychometric properties of a measure of AA's Twelve Promises and examined whether it mediated the effect of 12-step participation on abstinence.

METHOD: Young adults (N=302, M age 20.4 [1.6], range 18-25; 27% female; 95% White) enrolled in an addiction treatment effectiveness study completed assessments at intake and 3-, 6-, and 12-months post treatment including a 26-item, Twelve Promises Scale (TPS). Factor analyses examined the TPS' psychometrics and lagged mediational analyses tested the TPS as a mechanism of behavior change.

RESULTS: Robust principal axis factoring extraction with Varimax rotation revealed a 2-factor solution explaining 45-58% of the variance across three administrations ("Psychological Wellbeing"=26-39%; "Freedom from Craving=17-21%); internal consistency was high (alpha=.83-.93). Both factors were found to increase in relation to greater 12-step participation, but significant mediation was found only for the Freedom from Craving factor explaining 21-34% of the effect of 12-step participation in increasing abstinence.

CONCLUSIONS: The TPS shows potential as a conceptually relevant, and psychometrically sound measure and may be useful in helping elucidate the extent to which the Twelve Promises emerge as an independent benefit of 12-step participation and/or explain SUD remission and recovery.


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Last updated on 02/16/2017