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Publication Date


Document Type



School for Social Work


Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism-Psychological aspects, Recovering alcoholics-Psychology, Affect (Psychology), Attachment behavior, Interpersonal relations, Affect regulation, Attachment bonds, Addiction treatment, Relationship quality


This longitudinal study explores how involvement in the AA program for a 90-day period affects an individual's capacity for affect regulation and the quality of their interpersonal relationships.

Data were collected from 18 participants on two different occasions, pre and post a 90-day involvement in AA. A demographic questionnaire and 2 self-report scales, Attachment Style Questionnaire (ASQ) and Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) were administered after an initial semi-structured interview at both data points.

The hypothesized differences in both the ASQ and the DERS were confirmed. Qualitative data suggest individuals' capacity for adaptive affect regulation and the quality of their interpersonal relationships improved after being involved in AA for 90 days. These findings support the need for more comprehensive studies using qualitative analysis with larger sample sizes on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Implications for practice, future research and social work education are drawn.




v, 155 pages. Ph.D. Dissertation-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 130-137)