Measuring recovery capital for people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction: A systematic review

Adela Bunaciu (Lead / Corresponding author), Ana-Maria Bliuc, David Best, Emily A. Hennessy, Matthew J. Belanger, Christopher S. Y. Benwell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Recovery capital theory provides a biopsychosocial framework for identifying and measuring strengths and barriers that can be targeted to support recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. This systematic review analyzed and synthesized all quantitative approaches that have measured recovery capital since 2016.

Three databases were searched to identify studies published from 2016 to 2023. Eligible studies explicitly stated they measured recovery capital in participants recovering from alcohol and/or drug addiction. Studies focusing on other forms of addiction were excluded.

Sixty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Forty-six studies used one of the ten identified recovery capital questionnaires, and twenty-five studies used a measurement approach other than one of the ten recovery capital questionnaires. The ten recovery capital questionnaires are primarily developed for adult populations across clinical and community recovery settings, and between them measure 41 separate recovery capital constructs. They are generally considered valid and reliable measures of recovery capital. Nevertheless, a strong evidence base on the psychometric properties across diverse populations and settings still needs to be established for these questionnaires.

The development of recovery capital questionnaires has been a significant advance in the field of addiction recovery, in alignment with the emerging recovery-oriented approach to addiction recovery care. Additionally, the non-recovery capital questionnaire-based approaches to recovery capital measurement have an important place in the field. They could be used alongside recovery capital questionnaires to test theory, and in contexts where the application of the questionnaires is not feasible, such as analyses of data from online recovery forums.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalAddiction Research and Theory
Early online date18 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Aug 2023


  • alcohol
  • drugs
  • recovery
  • Recovery capital
  • recovery measurement
  • substance addiction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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