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Collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) support students in or seeking recovery from substance use disorders or mental health disorders while enrolled in college. Collegiate recovery has been established as a field of study since the 1970s. To date, a number of qualitative studies have been completed on the programs and students served, along with a single national descriptive survey. This pilot study is the first undertaken exploring the status (recovery, professional, and quality of life) of student alumni that engaged in undergraduate collegiate recovery programs (CRP). Results contain alumni recovery status, primary recovery supports utilized, relapse rates since graduation, and recovery capital/quality of life scores. Similar to previously published works, CRP alumni remain actively in recovery, with relapse rates only slightly higher than the national average of students currently engaged in CRPs (10.2% vs. 6.8%). Findings are preliminary evidence that collegiate recovery programs adequately prepare engaged students for future recovery and professional life.
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Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly
ISSN: 0734-7324 (Print) 1544-4538 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/watq20
Alumni Characteristics of Collegiate Recovery
Programs: A National Survey
Austin M. Brown, Robert D. Ashford, Naomi Figley, Kayce Courson, Brenda
Curtis & Thomas Kimball
To cite this article: Austin M. Brown, Robert D. Ashford, Naomi Figley, Kayce Courson, Brenda
Curtis & Thomas Kimball (2018): Alumni Characteristics of Collegiate Recovery Programs: A
National Survey, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/07347324.2018.1437374
Published online: 12 Feb 2018.
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Alumni Characteristics of Collegiate Recovery Programs: A
National Survey
Austin M. Brown
a
, Robert D. Ashford
b
, Naomi Figley
a
, Kayce Courson
a
,
Brenda Curtis
b
, and Thomas Kimball
c
a
Kennesaw State University, Center for Young Adult Addiction and Recovery, Kennesaw, Georgia, USA;
b
Department of Psychiatry, Addictions, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA;
c
Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas, USA
ABSTRACT
Collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) support students in or
seeking recovery from substance use disorders or mental
health disorders while enrolled in college. Collegiate recovery
has been established as a field of study since the 1970s. To
date, a number of qualitative studies have been completed on
the programs and students served, along with a single national
descriptive survey. This pilot study is the first undertaken
exploring the status (recovery, professional, and quality of
life) of student alumni that engaged in undergraduate collegi-
ate recovery programs (CRP). Results contain alumni recovery
status, primary recovery supports utilized, relapse rates since
graduation, and recovery capital/quality of life scores. Similar
to previously published works, CRP alumni remain actively in
recovery, with relapse rates only slightly higher than the
national average of students currently engaged in CRPs
(10.2% vs. 6.8%). Findings are preliminary evidence that col-
legiate recovery programs adequately prepare engaged stu-
dents for future recovery and professional life.
KEYWORDS
Collegiate recovery;
addiction; higher education;
recovery; substance use
disorder; behavioral health
Introduction
Collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) began in the late 1970s at Brown
University (White & Finch, 2006) and have since grown considerably.
Currently there are more than 160 programs in the United States
(Association of Recovery in Higher Education, 2016; Transforming Youth
Recovery, 2016). Although there is no specific definition of a CRP, the
Association of Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE; 2016) state that CRPs
are nonprofit entities that exist within the larger ecology of college campuses
with dedicated staff and space, a community of students engaged in a recovery
lifestyle that staff support through a variety of ongoing, peer-based efforts.
CRPs strive to create a campus-based recovery-friendlyspace and suppor-
tive social community to enhance educational opportunities while supporting
CONTACT Robert D. Ashford roberdav@upenn.edu Department of Psychiatry, Addictions, University of
Pennsylvania, 2111 Melvin St., Philadelphia PA
All authors approve this manuscript and this submission. The authors report no conflict of interest.
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY
https://doi.org/10.1080/07347324.2018.1437374
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
studentscontinued recovery and emotional growth (Bugbee, Caldeira, Soong,
Vincent, & Aria, 2016). CRPs typically support students in two main ways: (1)
academic support (scholarships, recovery-cognizant academic advising/study
spaces) and (2) recovery support (on-campus recovery meetings, peer-based
social support, counselling) (Laudet & Humphreys, 2013).
Previous examinations of CRPs have often either been descriptive of the
students who use CRPs services or focused on student experiences while
participating in a CRP (Kimball, Shumway, Harris, & Austin-Robillard,
2016; Laudet, Harris, Kimball, Winters, & Moberg, 2016). Laudet, Harris,
Kimball, Winters, and Moberg (2015)werethefirsttocapture nationwide
data on 486 CRP students who were enrolled in 29 CRPs across the
country. This data included recovery group affiliations, treatment, and
mental health histories, as well as relapse, criminal justice histories, physical
and emotional health, and grade point averages among other self-reported
items.
However there have been no published studies examining CRP students
postgraduation and longitudinal outcomes. The present pilot study provides
the first examination of postgraduate collegiate recovery students (i.e., CRP
alumni). The goal of this preliminary pilot study is to examine CRP alumni
relapse rates, quality of life, recovery progress, and well-being. This is linked
to the overarching theoretical orientation of previous collegiate recovery
research that involves (1) social capital, defined as bidirectional social inte-
gration (Granfield & Cloud, 1999) and (2) recovery capital, which consists of
social capital, physical capital, human capital, and cultural capital (Harris,
Baker, & Cleveland, 2010; Laudet & White, 2008), all of which have been
linked to better outcomes for those in substance use disorder (SUD) recovery
(Granfield & Cloud, 2001; Laudet, 2008,2011).
Method
Participants
Participants (N= 88) were self-reported alumni of CRPs at institutions of
higher education in the United States. Demographics of the respondents
yielded a mean age of 30.13 years (SD = 6.89), 54.5% of participants were
male, and 96.6% were White. More than 50% reported being single/never
married, and 79.5% of participants were employed either full- or part-time.
Of the participants, 47.7% had an annual total family income over $50,000.
Most participants, 96.6%, reported being in recovery at the time of the
survey, with 83.5% of those stating that mutual aid (12-Step) was the primary
program of recovery used. See Table 1 for full demographic characteristics
for participants.
2A. M. BROWN ET AL.
Table 1. Collegiate Recovery Program alumni demographic characteristics.
(N= 88)
n(M) (%) (SD)
Age (years) 30.13 (6.89)
Recovery length (months) 89.98 (43.07)
Gender
Male 48 (54.5%)
Female 39 (44.3%)
Trans 1 (1.1%)
Race/ethnicity
White 85 (96.6%)
Black/African American 1 (1.1%)
American Indian/Native American 1 (1.1%)
Asian/Pacific Islander 1 (1.1%)
Latino Origin or Descent 3 (3.4%)
Marital status
Single, never married 48 (54.5%)
Married/domestic partnership 37 (42.0%)
Widowed/divorced 3 (3.4%)
Education level
4-year degree 65 (73.9%)
Postgraduate degree 23 (26.1%)
Employment status
Employed 70 (79.5%)
Out of work and looking 1 (1.1%)
Unable to work 1 (1.1%)
Homemaker 1 (1.1%)
Current student 15 (17.0%)
Household income
Less than $10,000 3 (3.4%)
$1029,999 19 (21.6%)
$3049,999 24 (27.3%)
Over $50,000 42 (47.7%)
Recovery status
Currently in recovery 85 (96.6%)
Reoccurrence of use (Relapse)
No use since graduation 77 (87.5%)
Use since graduation 9 (10.2%)
Not applicable 2 (2.3%)
Preferred substance of use
Alcohol 19 (21.6%)
Opiates 21 (23.9%)
Cocaine 4 (4.5%)
Amphetamines 2 (2.3%)
Marijuana 5 (5.7%)
Multiple substances 29 (33.0%)
Other 8 (9.1%)
Mental health diagnosis (lifetime)
Depressive disorder 16 (18.2%)
Anxiety disorder 3 (3.4%)
Bi-polar disorder 6 (6.8%)
ADHD 10 (11.4%)
Multiple diagnosis 34 (38.6%)
Primary recovery pathway (Current)
Mutual aid (12-Step) 71 (83.5%)
Mutual AID (non-12-Step) 1 (1.2%)
Mutual AID (spiritually affiliated) 1 (1.2%)
(Continued)
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY 3
Survey distribution
After obtaining Institutional Review Board approval from Kennesaw
State University, a survey link along with a digital recruitment flyer
calling for collegiate recovery alumni participation was distributed
through electronic mail to the Association of Recovery in Higher
Education listserv member schools,aswellasonprivatesocialmedia
groups specifically for CRP professionals. Digital snowball sampling was
chosen for this study (i.e., the recruitment material could be forwarded
freely) as no formal centralized database exists for alumni of CRP
programs. Program professionals were asked to provide the study infor-
mation to alumni of the respective CRPs and furnish alumni with the
recruitment flyer and survey link. Total potential sample size is
unknown due to a lack of historical records of CRPs and those students
served since the fields inception in the 1970s. Participants who
responded to the study were given the option to fill out a separate
contact form, not traceable to their survey response, to be entered into
a random drawing for a $50 gift card for their time.
Table 1. (Continued).
(N= 88)
n(M) (%) (SD)
Moderation/harm reduction 1 (1.2%)
Medication-assisted 0 (0.0%)
Professional therapy 8 (9.4%)
Other 3 (3.5%)
Primary recovery pathway (CRP)
Mutual aid (12-Step) 76 (86.4%)
Mutual aid (non-12-Step) 2 (2.3%)
Medication-assisted 1 (1.1%)
Professional therapy 7 (8.0%)
Other 2 (2.3%)
Academic disruption due to BH
Yes 72 (81.8%)
Completed SUD treatment
Yes 67 (76.1%)
Completed MH treatment
Yes 36 (40.9%)
Stayed in recovery residence
Yes 48 (54.5%)
Criminal justice (prev. 12 months)
No involvement 82 (93.2%)
Medical complications
Related to BH disorder 11 (12.5%)
Not related to BH disorder 18 (20.5%)
Note: ADHD: Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder; CRP: Collegiate Recovery Program; BH: Behavioral
health; SUD: Substance Use Disorder; MH: Mental Health; Prev.: Previous.
4A. M. BROWN ET AL.
Measures
This study deployed a battery of measures in a single online Qualtrics survey.
Basic demographic data was captured including employment, education level,
family income, marital status, as well as age, ethnicity, and gender identity.
Several validated measures were incorporated examining quality of life,
recovery capital, and human flourishing. An additional quality of life self-
report five-item survey was added and deployed alongside the World Health
Organization Quality of Life Brief Survey and the Assessment of Recovery
Capital in hopes of capturing CRP-specific quality of life domains and was
developed from qualitative information derived from previous collegiate
recovery research. Additionally, self-report questions were included in the
survey related to stigma, professional and personal benefits of CRP participa-
tion, personal recovery pathways, and substances used. (A copy of this survey
is available in the supplemental materials).
World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief
The 26-item World Health Organization Quality of Life Brief Questionnaire
(WHO-QOL BREF) is a widely used and well-validated measure of overall
quality of life in a four-factor model: physical health, psychological health,
social relationships, and environment (Skevington, Lotfy, & OConnell, 2004;
World Health Organization, 1998). The metric incorporates a 5-item Likert-
type scale ranging from 1 (least)to5(most), with a midrange option (both or
neither) and three reverse-scoring items. Higher scores within the question-
naire is associated with higher quality of life in the respective domain. The
WHO-QOL BREF has been deployed and validated in a variety of settings,
translated into more than 40 languages, and deployed across diverse disease
groups. Testretest reliability at 2 weeks yielded intraclass correlations (ICCs)
of 0.75 to 0.84 (Koohi, Nedjat, Yaseri, & Cheraghi, 2017). Skevington et al.
(2004), demonstrated the WHO-QOL BREF contains high-quality psycho-
metric properties and good validity through confirmatory factor analysis, (.87
physical, .95 psychological, .83 social relationships, .84 environment) across a
large sample (N= 11,830), in 23 countries, in sick and well groups, across
multiple settings, and across mental health and medical groups. Additionally,
some research has been done specific to the correlates of quality of life and
SUD recovery (Kirouac, Stein, Pearson, & Witkiewitz, 2017; Laudet, 2011).
Assessment of Recovery Capital
The Assessment of Recovery Capital (ARC; Groshkova, Best, & White, 2012)
measures key areas associated with recovery progress, especially in postacute
populations. The ARC consists of 50 questions that comprise 10 subdomains:
(1) substance use and sobriety, (2) global psychological health, (3) global
physical health, (4) citizenship and community involvement, (5) social
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY 5
support, (6) meaningful activities, (7) housing and safety, (8) risk taking, (9
coping and life functioning, and (10) recovery experience. Each item asks the
respondent to indicate whether they agree (1) or disagree (2) with the
statement. Each agree response is assigned a score of 1, whereas each disagree
is assigned a score of 0. Higher scores are associated with higher levels of
recovery capital. Validation of the measure demonstrated a correlation at or
above (.80) with all WHO-QOL BREF subscales across treatment and recov-
ery subsamples. Reliability was established through testretest at 1 week
utilizing ICC coefficients revealing a moderate or substantial reliability for
each subdomain, and an overall substantial reliability (ICC = .610.80) of .61
(Groshkova, Best, & White, 2012).
Human Flourishing Scale
The 8-item Flourishing Scale (FS-8; Diener et al., 2010) measures perceived
sense of success in participantsrelationships, self-esteem, purpose, and opti-
mism yielding a single score for well-being. The scale consists of a 1 to 7 Likert-
type scale ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree,withamidrange
option of neither agree or disagree. Scores can range from 8 to 56, with higher
scores associated with greater perceived sense of success. Validation of the
metric revealed an eigenvalue of (4.24), with a single axis accounting for (53%)
of variance, with factor loading of .61 to .77 (Diener et al., 2010). Test-retest
were completed at 1 month and reveal moderately high stability (Diener et al.,
2010). The measure has good psychometric properties and is strongly associated
with otherpsychological well-being scalessuch as the WHO-QOL BREF (Diener
et al., 2010).
Additional self-report quality of life measure
In addition to the above measures, we examined participants (1) life satisfaction in
regards to eight domains (financial stability, family relations, romantic relations,
friends/peer relations, professional environment, emotional stability, sense of life
purpose, sense of impact on the world) with 1 (high)to5(low)endpoints,(2)
overall physical health and wellness, and (3) overall mental health and wellness.
Data analysis
All data analysis was completed using SPSS V23. Correlation significance was
defined as p< .05 a priori. Chi-squared tests for independence were run for the
following demographic characteristics (gender, race, ethnicity, education level, and
income level) to determine if any in-group differences were significant. The initial
research hypothesis stipulated that stability factors for former CRP students such
as employment, recovery rates, 12-Step attendance, and histories would reflect
existingself-reportdatafrompreviousworkbyLaudetetal.(2015). In addition to
this, the capture of new pilot data through the use of the WHO-QOL BREF, ARC,
6A. M. BROWN ET AL.
FS-8; Diener et al., 2010, and the self-report questionnaire on stigma and program
benefits would help to shape future research and provide context for alumni
characteristics.
Results
Substance use and mental health
The majority of participants (n= 88) reported presently being in recovery from a
behavioral health disorder (96.6%). Of those in recovery, the current programs
used to support recovery (Table 1) were most often mutual aid 12-Step (83.5%) and
therapy (9.4%).
Most participants reported substance use histories involving multiple
substances (33.0%), followed by opiate use only (23.9%), and alcohol use
only (21.6%). A majority of participants (78.4%) had co-occurring mental
health disorders, with multiple mental health diagnoses being the most
prevalent (38.6%), followed by depressive disorder (18.2%).
Most participants (81.8%) had experienced past academic disruption due to
behavioral health disorders and substance use. Academic disruption involves
abandoning ones education dues to substance use or mental health issues and is
a common feature of using careers of CRP students (Cleveland, Baker, & Dean,
2010). Additionally, many participants (76.1%) had completed SUD treatment
at some point in their lives; 40.9% had completed mental health disorder
treatment at some point in their lives, and 54.5% had lived in a recovery
residence at some point in their lives. Of those that had lived in a recovery
residence, only 11 (22.9%) stayed in a residence affiliated with the CRP.
Of those participants that reported abstinence as the primary pathway of
recovery used, 87.5% (n= 86) reported no recurrences of use since graduation
representing a return to use rate of (10.2%). Of those that did return to use
(n= 9), 3 participants experienced one episode, 3 participants experienced two
to four episodes, and 3 participants experienced five or more episodes.
Recovery capital
Participants had mean recovery capital scores of 45.90 (SD =4.21).
Recovery capital scores were not significantly different among gender χ
2
(28) = 21.57, p= .801, race χ
2
(42) = 34.91, p= .772, ethnicity χ
2
(14) = 13.83, p= .462, education level χ
2
(14) = 21.33, p= .093, or income
level χ
2
(42) = 50.33, p= .177. Additionally, ARC scores were found to be
significantly positively correlated with human flourishing scale (FS-8
scores) (r= .670, p< .001), and scores from all domains of the WHO-
QOL BREF (DOM1, r= .371, p< .001; DOM2, r= .741, p< .001; DOM3,
r= .606, p< .001; DOM4, r= .470, p< .001).
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY 7
Quality of life - self report
Participants reported the highest ratings of quality of life among the
domains for professional environment (M= 1.60, SD = .65) and family
relations (M=1.68,SD = .70). Additionally, participants reported high
satisfaction with overall mental and physical health/wellness, though men-
tal wellness was rated greater (M=1.89,SD =.84;M=2.24,SD =.90).
Full scores for the quality of lifeself report measure are available in
Table 1.2.
Chi-squared tests revealed self-report quality of life scores were sig-
nificantly different only in two domains and by two demographic vari-
ables (income and race), by financial stability and romantic
relationships. Income levels were significantly related to scores in the
financial stability domain χ(9) = 31.92, p= .001, whereas those report-
ing an income over $50,000 annually were more likely to have higher
satisfaction than those making less than $50,000 annually; income level
were also significantly related to scores in the romantic relationships
domain χ
2
(12) = 27.69, p= .006, where those reporting an income over
$50,000 annually were more likely to have higher satisfaction than those
making less than $50,000 annually. Racial identification was signifi-
cantly related the romantic relationships domain χ
2
(12) = 27.56,
p= .006, where White respondents were more likely to have higher
satisfaction than non-White respondents. All chi-squared test results are
available in Table 1.3.
Table 1.2. Recovery capital, quality of life, and flourishing.
M(SD)
Recovery capital (ARC) 45.90 (4.21)
Domain - Physical (WHO-QOL) 17.29 (2.20)
Domain - Psychological (WHO-QOL) 15.58 (2.40)
Domain Social (WHO-QOL) 15.98 (2.88)
Domain - Environment (WHO-QOL) 17.15 (1.89)
Human flourishing (FS-8) 49.69 (6.04)
Quality of life Self-report
Financial stability 2.25 (0.95)
Family relations 1.68 (0.70)
Romantic relations 1.89 (0.93)
Friend/peer relations 1.77 (0.89)
Professional environment 1.60 (0.65)
Emotional stability 2.03 (0.89)
Sense of life purpose 1.85 (0.93)
Sense of impact on world 1.88 (0.97)
Overall mental health/wellness 1.89 (0.84)
Overall physical health/wellness 2.24 (0.90)
Note: ARC: Assessment of Recovery Capital; WHO-QOL: World Health Organization Quality of Life; FS-8:
Human Flourishing Scale.
8A. M. BROWN ET AL.
Table 1.3. Quality of life self report results.
Self-Report QoL Domain Variable df χ
2
Score pValue
Financial stability Gender 6 3.85 0.697
Race 9 13.09 0.159
Ethnicity 3 0.42 0.936
Education level 3 6.34 0.096
Income level 9 31.92 0.001*
Family relationships Gender 6 3.83 0.7
Race 9 3.4 0.946
Ethnicity 3 4.09 0.252
Education level 3 1.14 0.767
Income level 9 6.18 0.722
Romantic relationships Gender 8 5.87 0.662
Race 12 27.56 0.006*
Ethnicity 4 0.71 0.95
Education Level 4 6.06 0.195
Income level 12 27.69 0.006*
Professional environment Gender 6 2.42 0.878
Race 9 3.41 0.946
Ethnicity 3 0.65 0.884
Education level 3 1.23 0.746
Income level 9 6.7 0.668
Peer relationships Gender 8 2.96 0.937
Race 12 3.73 0.988
Ethnicity 4 1.92 0.75
Education Level 4 5.69 0.223
Income level 12 8.64 0.733
Emotional stablity Gender 6 3.34 0.766
Race 9 3.73 0.928
Ethnicity 3 3.16 0.368
Education level 3 5.1 0.164
Income level 9 12.05 0.211
Sense of life satisfaction Gender 8 2.79 0.947
Race 12 4.81 0.964
Ethnicity 4 0.96 0.916
Education level 4 1.78 0.775
Income level 12 16.39 0.174
Overall MH and wellness Gender 6 5.75 0.451
Race 9 4.42 0.882
Ethnicity 3 6.23 0.101
Education level 3 6.17 0.104
Income level 9 6.55 0.684
Overall PH and wellness Gender 6 5.15 0.524
Race 9 6.82 0.656
Ethnicity 3 7.31 0.063
Education level 3 3.46 0.326
Income level 9 9.39 0.402
Sense of life purpose Gender 8 3.97 0.86
Race 12 4.28 0.978
Ethnicity 4 1.29 0.863
Education level 4 1.02 0.907
Income level 12 18.33 0.106
Sense of positive impact Gender 8 2.2 0.974
Race 12 4.46 0.974
Ethnicity 4 2.71 0.608
Education level 4 7.64 0.106
Income level 12 8.82 0.718
Note: QoL: Quality of Life; MH: Mental Health; PH: Physical health.
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY 9
Quality of life - world health organization brief
Participants were found to have higher physical and environmental domain
quality of life scores (M= 17.29, SD = 2.20; M= 17.15, SD = 1.89), than
psychological and social domain scores (M= 15.58, SD = 2.40; M= 15.98,
SD = 2.88); Table 1.2 provides all domain scores. Quality of life domain
scores were not significantly different among gender, race, ethnicity, educa-
tion level, or income level. All domain scores were significantly positively
correlated with ARC and FS-8 scores, however.
Flourishing
Participants had mean FS-8 of 49.69 (SD = 6.04). Human flourishingscale scores
were not significantly different among gender χ
2
(38) = 29.61, p= .833, race χ
2
(57) = 31.01, p= .997, ethnicity χ
2
(19) = 39.916, p=.05),educationlevelχ
2
(19) = 25.08, p= .158, or income level χ
2
(57) = 63.81, p= .250. FS-8 scores were
significantly positively correlated with ARC scores (r=.670,p<.001)andall
domain scores of the WHO-QOL BREF (DOM1, r=.359,p= .001; DOM2,
r=.800,p< .001; DOM3, r=.721,p< .001; DOM4, r=.454,p<.001).
Benefits of program
The majority of respondents felt that participation in their respective CRPs
helped them in several ways. A majority of participants (68.2%) felt that the
CRP directly prepared them for the professional environment; whereas slightly
more participants (80.7%) felt the program directly prepared them for post-
graduation recovery. Additionally, most participants (89.8%) felt that program
membership was helpful academically. Although not a majority, a number of
participants (36.4%) also reported they would not have attended their under-
graduate institution if the program had not been there. A majority of partici-
pants (81.8%) also maintained alumni contact with the undergraduate CRP.
Stigma
Some participants (37.0%) had a sense of stigmatization of their recovery
status while enrolled in their CRP, and (33.0%) of participants felt a sense of
stigmatization of their recovery status since graduating from college. Of these
participants, 37.5% felt this stigmatization had decreased since graduating,
whereas 46.6% felt that it had neither decreased nor increased.
10 A. M. BROWN ET AL.
Discussion
Although preliminary, for participants in this study it is clear that collegiate
recovery is a highly positive experience preparing students in recovery for
postgraduation professional and recovery success. It also is clear for most
survey respondents that former affiliation with CRPs created personal recov-
ery gains that are self-reportedly maintained after graduation and were thus
stable. However, a self-selecting cohort of predominantly White respondents
who affirm they are employed, earning well, entering into stable relation-
ships, and remaining abstinent from substances is only a preliminary step
into understanding the impact of CRPs long term. The ability to determine
the role of the CRP in making these gains possible is promising, and the
findings are supportive of previous research regarding such gains during
CRP enrollment.
The strength of this particular study is that it reflects the results from
previous research established on CRP students (e.g., relapse rates, employ-
ment rates, co-occurring disorder prevalence, etc.) (Laudet, Harris, Kimball,
Winters, & Moberg, 2014; Laudet et al., 2015; Laudet, Harris, Winters,
Kimball, & Moberg, 2014), with only slight variations. Building from pre-
vious research, there were several commonalities with the current study. For
example, compared to Laudet et al. (2015), which demonstrated an 86.4%
student participation rate in 12-Step programs while enrolled in CRPs, the
current study shows a (83.5%) participation in 12-Step meetings in the
postgraduation sample. Thus, participation in mutual aid support is nearly
as high for postgraduation samples. Additional similarities include low rates
of relapse of enrolled CRP students (8%) and of the postgraduation respon-
dents (12.5%). Treatment histories, ethnic composition, and co-occurrence of
mental health issues also are similar to previous studies of collegiate recovery
populations.
The current study, the first to sample a cohort of CRP graduates and
alumni, finds that not only are survey respondents doing relatively well in
relation to employment, earnings, and recovery (e.g., abstinent alumni from
the sample have experienced only a 10.2% recurrence of use, or relapse, rate),
but also doing well related to life and recovery-related factors measured by
the ARC, the WHO-QOL BREF, and the FS-8. Additionally, this is the first
use of the FS-8 with the recovering student population, and preliminary
evidence suggests a level of positive correlation between this 8-item instru-
ment and the longer ARC (50 items) and WHO-QOL BREF (27 items). This
result provides a basis for further study into the convergent validity of the
FS-8 with the ARC and WHO-QOL BREF.
Although the role of the CRP in individual student success is not yet
established through rigorous sampling and controls, including longitudinal
and randomized control trials, two CRP cohorts (one of currently enrolled
ALCOHOLISM TREATMENT QUARTERLY 11
students completed by Laudet et al., (2015) and the present study cohort of
CRP alumni) have now self-reported consistent positive data across multiple
measures of quality of life and human functioning (recovery capital, satisfac-
tion, health and wellness, and flourishing). It is hoped that this initial evidence
of consistency lends itself to future research interests as a pilot foray into
postgraduation life of former CRP students. More rigorous sampling methods
and controls can now be formulated from this design, and more causative
elements of student success may be explored by CRP researchers.
The presented results should be viewed in the light of certain limita-
tions. Although the number of CRP graduates and alumni is unknown at
this time, it is unlikely that the current sample (N= 88) is representative
to all CRP graduates. However, that the population size is unknown
speaks to a larger issue of the lack of tracking of CRP graduates and
alumni by the programs operating in the United States. These preliminary
results provide support that programs should invest resources into data
gathering and databases in maintaining and engaging the graduates of
their programs. In fact, the CRP field general would benefit from a
national database gathering an agreed-upon set of variables for current
students and alumni over time. The racial disparity in the current study,
though also reflected in other studies of this nature in CRPs (Laudet et al.,
2015), speaks to a potentially much larger problem in the field involving a
severe lack of diversity, inclusion, and opportunity for minority commu-
nity students that are in recovery or seeking recovery. The lack of diversity
in the CRP field is a reflection of not only the significant barriers
minorities face in engaging recovery help but also within higher educa-
tion. Further exploration into the racial diversity CRPs in the United
States and breaking down these barriers is a critical issue, and one that
should be completed as soon as possible. Any study of recovery or related
phenomena that lacks significantly diverse sampling methods cannot be
considered generalizable, or representative of the larger population
affected by SUDs.
Conclusion
On the heels of other CRP research, this study sought to provide a pre-
liminary glimpse into the postgraduation descriptors of former collegiate
recovery students. This study sets a precedent for further study into CRP
outcomes. The impact of CRPs and the growth of CRPs nationally have
created greater need for efficacy and outcome data. Discussions and metrics
involving who is served through CRPs, the ways in which student success is
facilitated, are going to be essential to the collegiate recovery field.
Longitudinal study of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and socioecological
changes, as well as recovery rates, academic measures, and professional
12 A. M. BROWN ET AL.
outcomes will also be essential in CRP programming and the establishment
of efficacy measures.
Acknowledgments
The authors would like to thank the Association for Recovery in Higher Education and
Transforming Youth Recovery for their assistance with this study.
ORCID
Austin M. Brown http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9958-3696
Robert D. Ashford http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3979-1754
Brenda Curtis http://orcid.org/0000-0002-2511-3322
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14 A. M. BROWN ET AL.
... Personal recovery capital and barriers. Students enter institutions of higher education with a variety of strengths and resources that need to be considered (Ashford, Brown, Eisenhart, Thompson-Heller, & Curtis, 2018;Brown et al., 2019;Watts, Tu, & O' Sullivan, 2019;Wiebe, Griffin, Zheng, Harris, & Cleveland, 2018); such as whether they enroll with an existing alcohol or other drug problem and how severe it is, their problem-solving and coping skills and their ability to use them in a new environment, and the social determinants of health that affect their day-to-day actions in the campus setting. From a financial recovery capital perspective, students have varying economic backgrounds and material resources that can influence the types of resources they have access to on campus, including supports for their recovery or other means to navigate challenges. ...
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Addiction is a chronic brain disease affecting millions of people. A particularly vulnerable group is emerging adults (age 18–25 years). As more emerging adults are seeking help and entering a recovery process, relevant studies on their experiences in recovery increases. Although the definition of abstinence-based recovery is debated, the factors of hope and coping are important related to this dialogue. This phenomenology explores the experience of emerging adults in recovery who are members of a collegiate recovery program. Through interviews, eight participants described their recovery experience with a focus on hope and coping. Categories and themes related to participants’ experience of recovery in relation to hope and coping are reported. Implications for the field and our understanding of emerging adults in recovery are presented, as well as future research ideas exploring this population.
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Relapse rates are high among individuals with substance use disorders (SUD), and for young people pursuing a college education, the high rates of substance use on campus can jeopardize recovery. Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) are an innovative campus-based model of recovery support that is gaining popularity but remains under-investigated. This study reports on the first nationwide survey of CRP-enrolled students (N=486 from 29 different CRPs). Using an online survey, we collected information on background, SUD and recovery history, and current functioning. Most students (43% females, mean age=26) had used multiple substances, had high levels of SUD severity, high rates of treatment and 12-step participation. Fully 40% smoke. Many reported criminal justice involvement and periods of homelessness. Notably, many reported being in recovery from, and currently engaging in multiple behavioral addictions-e.g., eating disorders, and sex and love addiction. Findings highlight the high rates of co-occurring addictions in this under-examined population and underline the need for treatment, recovery support programs and college health services to provide integrated support for mental health and behavioral addictions to SUD-affected young people. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.