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Subst Abus. 2017 Jul-Sep;38(3):309-316. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2016.1213780. Epub 2016 Jul 21.

Quality of life and the complex needs of recovery home residents.

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a Alcohol Research Group , Public Health Institute , Emeryville , California , USA.
b Brandeis University , Waltham , Massachusetts , USA.



Having a stable and safe place to live is integral to recovery from addiction. Recovery residences represent an important component in the substance use continuum of care, but research on them has been limited to certain types of recovery residences and has yet to examine quality of life among those who live in them.


This study presents data on the characteristics of residents (N = 104) living in a stratified random sample of recovery homes in Philadelphia (N = 13) as well as data from a random subsample of residents (N = 27) who participated in 3-month follow-up interviews.


Residents in these homes reported deficits in a variety of aspects of their lives critical to helping them initiate and sustain their recovery; many (20%) reported living in a shelter or on the streets prior to moving in, 37% had less than a high school education, and only 26% reported currently working for pay. Although the majority of residents rated their quality of life as good or very good (74%), average physical health, social relationship, and environment domain scores measured by the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)-Bref were generally lower than scores found among community samples. At follow-up, all residents were housed and rates of substance use (7%), criminal justice involvement (0%), and employment (44%) in the past 30 days were encouraging. Quality of life domain scores were unchanged, with the exception of psychological health, which decreased.


These findings highlight the complex needs of residents living in Philadelphia recovery homes and the role that these homes play in maintaining residents in their early recovery. Studies with larger samples of residents followed up over longer periods of time are needed to assess the role that these homes may play in promoting long-term recovery and improving the well-being of the vulnerable population of individuals who live in them.


Addiction; quality of life; recovery; recovery homes; recovery residences

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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