Send to

Choose Destination
Subst Use Misuse. 2015 Jan;50(2):195-204. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2014.962055. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Interaction of motivation and psychiatric symptoms on substance abuse outcomes in sober living houses.

Author information

Alcohol Research Group, Emeryville , California , USA.



Studies show residents of sober living recovery houses (SLHs) make improvements in a variety of areas including alcohol and drug use, arrests, and employment. Longitudinal measures of motivation (assessed as costs and benefits of continuing sobriety) have been shown to be associated with alcohol and drug outcomes in SLHs. However, how motivation interacts with other potentially important factors, such as psychiatric severity, is unclear.


The present study aimed to assess how perceived costs and benefits of sobriety among residents of SLHs differed by psychiatric severity. The study also aimed to assess how costs and benefits interacted with psychiatric severity to influence outcome.


Two hundred forty-five residents of SLHs were assessed at baseline and 6, 12, and 18 months.


High psychiatric severity was associated with higher severity of alcohol and drug problems and higher perceived costs of sobriety at all data collection time points. Perceived costs and benefits of sobriety were strong predictors of alcohol and drug problems for participants with low psychiatric severity. Perceived costs, but not perceived benefits, predicted outcomes for residents with high psychiatric severity. CONCLUSIONS/IMPORTANCE: High psychiatric severity is a serious impediment for some residents in SLHs. These individuals perceive sobriety as difficult and that perception is associated with worse outcome. Finding ways to decrease perceived costs and challenges to sustained sobriety among these individuals is essential as is collaboration with local mental health services. SLHs should consider whether additional onsite services or modifications of SLH operations might help this population.


brief symptom inventory; motivation; psychiatric symptoms; recovery house; residential treatment; sober living house

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Taylor & Francis Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center