Sober social networks: The role of online support groups in recovery from alcohol addiction

Ana-Maria Bliuc (Lead / Corresponding author), Tuyet-Ngan Doan, David Best

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of addiction research, positive recovery outcomes are affected by the quality of people's social interactions and perhaps to an even greater extent, by the defining norms of the groups they identify with—that is, using versus recovery groups. Here, we examine the role of online supportive networks in the process of recovery from alcohol addiction. We analyse the relationship between negative and positive aspects of recovery capital (i.e., self-stigma, and respectively, positive recovery identity and self-efficacy) as they relate to well-being outcomes among alcohol users in an online recovery support group. Based on a computerised linguistic analysis of the naturally occurring data extracted from an online recovery support group (i.e., 257 posts made by 237 group members), we found that self-stigma negatively predicts self-efficacy and well-being, and social identification with a recovery identity mediates these relationships. Overall, these findings highlight that positive engagement with supportive recovery networks is central to an effective and sustainable recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-132
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Community & Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date12 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • addiction recovery
  • online networks
  • social identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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