From working on recovery to working in recovery: Employment status among a nationally representative U.S. sample of individuals who have resolved a significant alcohol or other drug problem

Citation:

Eddie, D., Vilsaint, C. L., Hoffman, L. A., Bergman, B. G., Kelly, J. F., & Hoeppner, B. B. (2020). From working on recovery to working in recovery: Employment status among a nationally representative U.S. sample of individuals who have resolved a significant alcohol or other drug problem. Journal of Substance Use Treatment , 113, 108000.

Abstract:

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders exact a prodigious annual economic toll in the United States (U.S.), driven largely by lost productivity due to illness-related absenteeism, underemployment, and unemployment. While recovery from AOD disorders is associated with improved health and functioning, little is known specifically about increases in productivity due to new or resumed employment and who may continue to struggle. Also, because employment can buffer relapse risk by providing structure, meaning, purpose, and income, greater knowledge in this regard would inform relapse prevention efforts as well as employment-related policy. We conducted a cross-sectional, nationally representative survey of the U.S. adult population assessing persons who reported having resolved an AOD problem (n = 2002). Weighted employment, unemployment, retirement, and disability statistics were compared to the general U.S. population. Logistic and linear regression models tested for differences in employment and unemployment among demographic categories and measures of well-being. Compared to the general U.S. population, individuals who had resolved an AOD problem were less likely to be employed or retired, and more likely to be unemployed and disabled. Certain recovering subgroups, including those identifying as black and those with histories of multiple arrests, were further disadvantaged. Conversely, certain factors, such as a higher level of education and less prior criminal justice involvement were associated with lower unemployment risk. Despite being in recovery from an AOD problem, individuals continue to struggle with obtaining employment, particularly black Americans and those with prior criminal histories. Given the importance of employment in addiction recovery and relapse prevention, more research is needed to identify employment barriers so that they can be effectively addressed.

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 12/14/2020