Social identities and response to treatment for alcohol and cocaine abuse

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1996

Publication Title

Addictive Behaviors


African American Studies


This study examined the relationship between social identities and response to treatment for alcohol and/or cocaine abuse. Individuals who reported more valued (i.e., positive and important) social identities were expected to have better treatment outcomes. Fortyfive participants were interviewed at treatment entry and at 3 and 6 months after starting treatment. The number of valued identities increased between treatment entry and 3 months. Participants with a greater number of valued identities at treatment entry were more likely to be abstinent at 3 months. Participants who reported more interference between substance use and valued identities were also more likely to be abstinent at 3 months, suggesting a possible motivational mechanism for the link between identities and response to treatment. Neither number of valued identities nor conflict between substance use and identities predicted abstinence between 3 and 6 months. Interaction effects, specific identities, and protective and motivational functions of social identities are discussed.