Publications by Year: 2013

Kelly, J. F., & Yeterian, J. D. (2013). Mutual-help groups for alcohol and other substance use disorders. In B. S. McCrady & E. E. Epstein (Ed.), Addictions: A comprehensive guidebook (2nd ed. pp. 500-525) . New York: Oxford University Press.
Kelly, J. F., Humphreys, K. N., & Yeterian, J. D. (2013). Mutual-help groups. In M. Herie & W. Skinner (Ed.), Fundamentals of addiction: A practical guide for counselors (4th ed. pp. 321-347) . Toronto: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Roth, J., White, W. L., & Kelly, J. F. (Ed.). (2013). Broadening the base of addiction mutual support groups: Bringing theory and science to contemporary trends (1st ed. pp. 272) . New York: Taylor and Francis.
Yeterian, J. D., Greene, C. M., Bergman, B. G., & Kelly, J. F. (2013). Does mandated treatment benefit youth? A prospective investigation of adolescent justice-system involvement, treatment motivation, and substance use outcomes. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly , 31 (4), 431-449 . Taylor & Francis. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Background: The majority of adolescents treated for substance use disorder (SUD) in the United States are now referred by the criminal justice system. Little is known, however, regarding how justice-system involvement relates to adolescent community treatment outcomes. Controversy exists, also, over the extent to which justice system involvement reflects a lack of intrinsic motivation for treatment. This study examined the relation between justice system referral and reported reason for treatment entry and tested the extent to which each predicted treatment response and outcome.

Method: Adolescent outpatients (N = 127; M age = 16.7, 24% female) with varying levels of justice-system involvement (i.e., no justice system involvement [No-JSI; n = 63], justice-system involved [JSI; n = 40], justice system involved-mandated [JSI-M; n = 24]) and motivation levels (i.e., self-motivated [n = 40], externally-motivated [n = 87]) were compared at treatment intake. Multilevel mixed models tested these groups’ effects on percent days abstinent (PDA) and odds of heavy drinking (HD) over 12 months.

Results: JSI-M were less likely to be self-motivated compared to No-JSI or JSI (p = 0.009). JSI-M had higher PDA overall, but with significant declines over time, relative to no-JSI. Self-motivated patients did not differ from externally-motivated patients on PDA or HD.

Conclusions: Mandated adolescent outpatients were substantially less likely to report self-motivated treatment entry. Despite the notion that self-motivated treatment entry would be likely to produce better outcomes, a judicial mandate appears to predict an initially stronger treatment response, although this diminishes over time. Ongoing monitoring and/or treatment may be necessary to help maintain treatment gains for justice system-involved adolescents.


Pagano, M. E., Kelly, J. F., Scur, M. D., Ionescu, R. A., Stout, R. L., & Post, S. G. (2013). Assessing youth participation in AA-related helping: Validity of the Service to Others in Sobriety (SOS) questionnaire in an adolescent sample. American Journal on Addictions , 22 (1), 60-66. Publisher's VersionAbstract


Background and Objectives: The positive outcomes derived from participation in Alcoholics Anonymous-related helping (AAH) found among adults has spurred study of AAH among minors with addiction. AAH includes acts of good citizenship in AA, formal service positions, public outreach, and transmitting personal experience to another fellow sufferer. Addiction research with adolescents is hindered by few validated assessments of 12-step activity among minors. This study provides psychometric findings of the “Service to Others in Sobriety (SOS)” questionnaire as completed by youths.

Methods: Multi-informant data was collected prospectively from youth self-reports, clinician-rated assessments, biomarkers, and medical chart records for youths (N = 195) after residential treatment.

Results: Few youths (7%) did not participate in any AAH during treatment. Results indicated the SOS as a unidimensional scale with adequate psychometric properties, including inter-informant reliability (r = .5), internal consistency (alpha = .90), and convergent validity (rs = −.3 to .3). Programmatic AAH activities distinguished abstinent youths in a random half-sample, and replicated on the other half-sample. The SOS cut-point of 40 indicated high AAH participation.

Conclusions and Significance: The SOS appears to be a valid measure of AAH, suggesting clinical utility for enhancing treatment and identifying service opportunities salient to sobriety.


Pagano, M. E., White, W. L., Kelly, J. F., Stout, R. L., & Tonigan, S. J. (2013). The 10-year course of Alcoholics Anonymous participation and long-term outcomes: A follow-up study of outpatient subjects in Project MATCH. Substance Abuse , 34 (1), 51-59 . Taylor & Francis. Publisher's VersionAbstract


This study investigates the 10-year course and impact of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)-related helping (AAH), step-work, and meeting attendance on long-term outcomes. Data were derived from 226 treatment-seeking alcoholics recruited from an outpatient site in Project MATCH and followed for 10 years post treatment. Alcohol consumption, AA participation, and other-oriented behavior were assessed at baseline, end of the 3-month treatment period, and 1, 3, and 10 years post treatment. Controlling for explanatory baseline and time-varying variables, results showed significant direct effects of AAH and meeting attendance on reduced alcohol outcomes and a direct effect of AAH on improved other-oriented interest.


Kelly, J. F., & Hoeppner, B. B. (2013). Does Alcoholics Anonymous work differently for men and women? A moderated multiple-mediation analysis in a large clinical sample. Drug and Alcohol Dependence , 130 (1-3), 186-193 . Elsevier. Publisher's VersionAbstract


BACKGROUND: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) began as a male organization, but about one third is now female. Studies have found that women participate at least as much as men and benefit equally from AA, but it is unclear whether women benefit from AA in the same or different ways as men. This study tested whether gender moderated the mechanisms through which AA aids recovery.

METHODS: A cohort study of alcohol dependent adults (N=1726; 24% female; Project MATCH) was assessed on AA attendance during treatment; with mediators at 9 months; outcomes (Percent Days Abstinent [PDA] and Drinks per Drinking Day [DDD]) at 15 months. Multiple mediator models tested whether purported mechanisms (i.e., self-efficacy, depression, social networks, spirituality/religiosity) explained AA's effects differently for men and women controlling for baseline values, mediators, treatment, and other confounders.

RESULTS: For PDA, the proportion of AA's effect accounted for by the mediators was similar for men (53%) and women (49%). Both men and women were found to benefit from changes in social factors but these mechanisms were more important among men. For DDD, the mediators accounted for 70% of the effect of AA for men and 41% for women. Again, men benefitted mostly from social changes. Independent of AA's effects, negative affect self-efficacy was shown to have a strong relationship to outcome for women but not men.

CONCLUSIONS: The recovery benefits derived from AA differ in nature and magnitude between men and women and may reflect differing needs based on recovery challenges related to gender-based social roles and drinking contexts.


Kelly, J. F., & Greene, C. M. (2013). The Twelve Promises of Alcoholics Anonymous: Psychometric measure validation and mediational testing as a 12-step specific mechanism of behavior change. Drug and Alcohol Dependence , 133 (2), 633-640 . Elsevier. Publisher's VersionAbstract


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.


Dow, S. J., & Kelly, J. F. (2013). Listening to youth: Adolescents’ reasons for substance use as a unique predictor of treatment response and outcome. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors , 27 (4), 1122-1131 . American Psychological Association. Publisher's VersionAbstract


National efforts have focused on improving adolescent substance use disorder (SUD) treatment outcomes, yet improvements remain modest. Because adolescents are noteworthy for heterogeneity in their clinical profiles, treatment might be enhanced by the identification of clinical subgroups for which interventions could be more effectively tailored. Some of these subgroups, such as those based on abstinence motivation, substance involvement, and psychiatric status are promising candidates. This study examined the unique predictive utility of adolescents' primary reason for alcohol and other drug use. Adolescent outpatients (N = 109; 27% female, aged 14-19) were assessed at treatment intake on their reason for substance use, as well as demographic, substance use, and clinical variables, and reassessed at 3, 6, and 12 months. Reason for use fell into two broad domains: using to enhance a positive state (positive reinforcement [PR]; 47% of youth) and using to cope with a negative state (negative reinforcement [NR]; 53% of youth). Compared with PR patients, NR patients were significantly more substance involved, reported more psychological distress, and had a more extensive treatment history. It is important to note that NR patients showed a significant treatment response, whereas PR patients showed no improvement. PR-NR status also uniquely predicted treatment response and outcome independent of a variety of other predictors, including abstinence motivation, self-efficacy, coping, and prior treatment. Adolescents' primary reason for substance use may provide unique clinical information that could inform treatment planning and patient-treatment matching.


Kelly, J. F., Stout, R. L., & Slaymaker, V. (2013). Emerging adults’ treatment outcomes in relation to 12-step mutual-help attendance and active involvement. Drug and Alcohol Dependence , 129 (1), 151-157 . Elsevier. Publisher's VersionAbstract


BACKGROUND: Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) during and following treatment has been found to confer recovery-related benefit among adults and adolescents, but little is known about emerging adults (18-24 years). This transitional life-stage is distinctive for greater distress, higher density of psychopathology, and poorer treatment and continuing care compliance. Greater knowledge would inform the utility of treatment referrals to 12-step organizations for this age-group.

METHODS: Emerging adults (N=303; 18-24 years; 26% female; 95% White; 51% comorbid [SCID-derived] axis I disorders) enrolled in a naturalistic study of residential treatment effectiveness assessed at intake, 3, 6, and 12 months on 12-step attendance and involvement and treatment outcomes (percent days abstinent [PDA]; percent days heavy drinking [PDHD]). Lagged hierarchical linear models (HLMs) tested whether attendance and involvement conferred recovery benefits, controlling for a variety of confounds.

RESULTS: The percentage attending 12-step meetings prior to treatment (36%) rose sharply at 3 months (89%), was maintained at 6 months (82%), but declined at 12 months (76%). Average attendance peaked at about 3 times per week at 3 months dropping to just over once per week at 12 months. Initially high, but similarly diminishing, levels of active 12-step involvement were also observed. Lagged HLMs found beneficial effects for attendance, but stronger effects, which increased over time, for active involvement. Several active 12-step involvement indices were associated individually with outcome benefits.

CONCLUSIONS: Ubiquitous 12-step organizations may provide a supportive recovery context for this high-risk population at a developmental stage where non-using/sober peers are at a premium.


Labbe, A. K., Greene, C., Bergman, B. G., Hoeppner, B., & Kelly, J. F. (2013). The importance of age composition of 12-step meetings as a moderating factor in the relation between young adults’ 12-step participation and abstinence. Drug and Alcohol Dependence , 133 (2), 541-547. Publisher's VersionAbstract


BACKGROUND: Participation in 12-step mutual help organizations (MHO) is a common continuing care recommendation for adults; however, little is known about the effects of MHO participation among young adults (i.e., ages 18-25 years) for whom the typically older age composition at meetings may serve as a barrier to engagement and benefits. This study examined whether the age composition of 12-step meetings moderated the recovery benefits derived from attending MHOs.

METHOD: Young adults (n=302; 18-24 years; 26% female; 94% White) enrolled in a naturalistic study of residential treatment effectiveness were assessed at intake, and 3, 6, and 12 months later on 12-step attendance, age composition of attended 12-step groups, and treatment outcome (Percent Days Abstinent [PDA]). Hierarchical linear models (HLM) tested the moderating effect of age composition on PDA concurrently and in lagged models controlling for confounds.

RESULTS: A significant three-way interaction between attendance, age composition, and time was detected in the concurrent (p=0.002), but not lagged, model (b=0.38, p=0.46). Specifically, a similar age composition was helpful early post-treatment among low 12-step attendees, but became detrimental over time.

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment and other referral agencies might enhance the likelihood of successful remission and recovery among young adults by locating and initially linking such individuals to age appropriate groups. Once engaged, however, it may be prudent to encourage gradual integration into the broader mixed-age range of 12-step meetings, wherein it is possible that older members may provide the depth and length of sober experience needed to carry young adults forward into long-term recovery.