Send to

Choose Destination
Addiction. 2006 May;101(5):678-88.

Intensive referral to 12-Step self-help groups and 6-month substance use disorder outcomes.

Author information

Center for Health Care Evaluation, Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System and Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94025, USA.



This study implemented and evaluated procedures to help clinicians make effective referrals to 12-Step self-help groups.


Randomized controlled trial. Setting Out-patient substance use disorder treatment. Participants Individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs) entering a new treatment episode (n = 345) who were assigned randomly to a standard referral- or an intensive referral-to-self-help condition.


Self-reports of 12-Step group attendance and involvement and substance use at baseline and a 6-month follow-up.


The intensive referral intervention focused on encouraging patients to attend 12-Step meetings by connecting them to 12-Step volunteers.


Among patients with relatively less previous 12-Step meeting attendance, intensive referral was associated with more meeting attendance during follow-up than was standard referral. Among all patients, compared with those who received standard referral, those who received intensive referral were more likely to be involved with 12-Step groups during the 6-month follow-up (i.e. had provided service, had a spiritual awakening and currently had a sponsor). Intensive referral patients also had better alcohol and drug use outcomes at 6 months. Twelve-Step involvement mediated part of the association between referral condition and alcohol outcomes.


The brief intensive referral intervention was associated with improved 12-Step group involvement and substance use outcomes even among patients with considerable previous 12-Step group exposure and formal treatment. Future 12-Step intensive referral procedures should focus on encouraging 12-Step group involvement in addition to attendance to benefit patients most effectively.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center