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J Health Commun. 1997 Apr-Jun;2(2):83-99.

Shared ideology in Alcoholics Anonymous: a grounded theory approach.

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Department of Communication, University of Oklahoma, Norman 73071, USA.


This article uses grounded theory to explore the shared ideology espoused in Alcoholics Anonymous, specifically the nature and role of shared ideology in increasing the efficacy of the recovery process, and the features of the group's tenets and meetings that help facilitate members' indoctrination. Findings support Kassel and Wagner's (1993) contention of shared ideology's major role in the change process of the group, and Antze's (1976) categorizations of the AA ideology and alcoholics' characteristics. Antze's (1979) finding that AA ideology removes the concept of drinking from the voluntary sphere was also supported. The group was found to be a context in which members could change their assumptive worlds through reinterpreting life events, as Frank and Frank (1991) contended. Little support was found for Alexander and Rollins's (1984) comparison of AA to religious cults. The findings underscore the importance of human interaction as persuasion and reinforcement for AA ideology.

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