247054 Prevention Implications of a Test of Twelve-Step Theory

Monday, October 31, 2011

James Gillham, PhD , Criminal Justice Department, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY
William Wieczorek, PhD , Center for Health and Social Research, Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY
John Welte, PhD , Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
To what extent is the theory of alcohol and drug use underlying the 12 steps borne out by research? Few if any empirical models have tested the premises of the 12-step theory. We test the main underlying theory of the 12-step model using a sample of adolescent young men aged 16-19. Data from the Buffalo Longitudinal Survey of Young Men, a probability sample of 625 males in the Buffalo, New York metropolitan area, were used to develop the model because the measures available were suitable to assess 12-step theory. A longitudinal structural path model was developed using AMOS to test direct and mediated paths. The dependent variable was a sum of DSM-III-R alcohol dependence criteria. From a statistical standpoint, all twenty-four paths in the model had significant associations (all p <.05 one-tailed) as theorized from the 12-stop model, and the model has appropriate fit indices. Lack of support in the home contributes to low self-esteem. This in turn contributes to anxiety, low internal locus of control and unconventional attitudes towards the path to life success. Interpersonal conflict and irritability are, in turn, stimulated and then, in turn, so is alcohol dependence. Religiosity is protective, whereas positive alcohol expectancies increase risky drinking. These findings suggest that the theory of addiction underlying the 12-step model is supported by an empirical model. The measures in the model are ideal targets for youth alcohol prevention programs (e.g., parental support, early indicators of social and mental health problems, self-esteem).

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
a. Describe theory of alcohol use/dependence underlying 12 Steps b. Describe results of test of theory of addiction underlying 12 Steps c. Relate results of model to prevention of alcohol abuse/dependence

Keywords: Adolescents, Alcohol Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a full professor of criminal justice who has published multiple articles and a book on this and related topics
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.