Quality of life as a predictor of social relationships in Oxford House
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment2.542
· DOI :10.1016/j.jsat.2019.03.006
Abstract Improved access to housing and recovery support is a low-cost, high-potential opportunity to help people recovering from alcohol and substance use sustain their recoveries. Oxford House (OH) recovery homes represent a recovery-favorable social environment for at least some people, but it is still unclear which resident characteristics and relational dynamics affect the social integration of residents. In the current study, OH residents in three geographic locations completed a social network instrument and self-rated their quality of life (QOL). The instruments were administered to the current (per wave) residents of 42 OHs at three time points over a period of a year. Findings indicated that those with a higher QOL were more likely to form friendships with those with a lower QOL than with their similar QOL peers, and vice versa. This finding would not have been predicted based on relationship mechanisms typical of broader social contexts, where homophily (similarity-based assortativity) is common. The self-governance model that characterizes OH residences, in which success among residents is necessarily viewed as mutually dependent and therefore mutually beneficial, seems a likely explanation for our result. Specifically, and aligned with current knowledge about what works in peer oriented recovery, our results suggest the governance mechanisms of OH favor relationships between those more stable in their recovery and those who are at a higher risk of dropout or relapse. This study reveals a potential research avenue examining an important ingredient for the effectiveness of OH.