UK Substance Misuse Treatment Workers' Attitudes to Twelve-Step Self-Help Groups

Edward Day, R Lopez Gaston, L Furlong, Vijaya Murali, Alexandre Copello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


Research has highlighted the benefits of professional substance misuse treatment workers facilitating their clients' involvement in 12-step self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). This study used a cross-sectional survey design to explore the attitudes of substance misuse treatment staff working in the English West Midlands region toward AA and NA and the 12-step philosophy. A total of 346 treatment workers responded (71 %). Fewer than 10% used the 12-step model in their treatment work, and only a third felt that their clients were generally suited to AA or NA. Fewer than half (46%) said that they were likely to recommend that their clients attend a self-help group meeting. Staff with nursing qualifications were more likely to have a positive attitude toward AA/NA than their nonnursing colleagues, and there was a statistically significant association between the level of reported spirituality of the workers and the likelihood of them recommending to clients that they attend AA or NA meetings. These results highlight differences in the role of AA/NA within the substance misuse treatment system in the United Kingdom and that in the United States; possible explanations are discussed. (c) 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-327
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Substance Abuse Treatment
Issue number29
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • alcoholics anonymous
  • substance use disorders
  • 12-step treatment
  • narcotics anonymous
  • staff attitudes


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