Sustainable addiction recovery is determined in part by how social and community resources can be mobilised to support long-term identity change. Given the current growth in technology, we ask what the role of online social interactions is in supporting long-term identity change for people in recovery. The paper also explores the relationship between the evolution of online social networks and key events that members experience in the outside world, based on a project examining changes in online participation over eight months among members of a UK addiction recovery community built around a social enterprise for employment and housing. The social enterprise had an open Facebook page that was used by staff, clients and by a diverse range of individuals not directly involved in the organisation. Based on an analysis of naturally occurring online data on the Facebook page, social network analysis (SNA) and computerised linguistic analysis that quantified emotion and belonging language in posts and subsequent ‘likes’, we found that variations in the structure of the online social network and the content of communication are consistent with ‘core’ members’ experience of those events. Our findings indicate that strong recovery networks supported by positive social interactions can contribute to achieving long-term identity change that supports sustaining engagement in recovery communities.
- Social identity change
- recovery community
- online social interactions
Best, D., Bliuc, A-M., Iqbal, M., Upton, K., & Hodgkins, S. (2018). Mapping social identity change in online networks of addiction recovery. Addiction Research & Theory, 26(3), 163-173. https://doi.org/10.1080/16066359.2017.1347258