also measured along with participants’ beliefs in their ability to successfully achieve sobriety. And information about how much participants identified with their groups was measured using centrality and satisfaction scales.
After eight weeks of data collection, Frings found that individuals who highly identified with their support groups and other group members cared significantly more about relapsing.
“We found some interesting links between levels of identity with the group and perceived responses to people making mistakes. Those that identified highly with the group also perceived more social support,” Frings said. “Also, we found that the more people identified with the group, the greater they perceived the cost of a relapse to be both to themselves and to the group. We interpret that finding as being a protective factor; having that group identity gives you a way of understanding lapses and relapses. It may also give you a sense of security which can help you get back on your feet (although we did not measure that specifically).”
Frings concluded by calling for further research on the negative impacts of social control and ways in which groups can achieve social rejection reduction, which he said should be the most important takeaway from his study.
“I think the fundamental message is that self-help groups can be incredibly supportive. They help people understand events such as relapse in a protective way, and when people make mistakes the group usually wants to help them rather than punish or exclude them. It’s a very encouraging finding.”