FRIENDSHIP AND SOCIAL SUPPORT NETWORKS IN THE THERAPEUTIC COMMUNITY
 
Richardson, L., University of Guam, Guam
 
This report expands upon earlier research (Richardson, in press) which examined the friendship patterns and social support networks of 125 substance abusers in a long-term residential Therapeutic Community (TC). It was noted that individuals who completed treatment had larger social support networks, more close and best friends, and more perceived support and more satisfaction with support when compared to individuals who were in the beginning stages of treatment. Additionally, ratings of close friends (both in treatment and in the community) were higher on a number of characteristics when compared with the friends of subjects in the beginning stages of treatment. The current study follows a cohort of 35 subjects from the original sample, approximately 3 months after admission to the TC program. Subjects completed several questionnaires designed to measure the quantity and quality of their friendships and supportive relationships upon entering treatment and at the 3-month follow-up. The data will be analyzed to determine whether significant changes can be seen in friendships and social support networks after the first 3 months of residential treatment. Findings will be discussed in terms of implications for relapse prevention, specifically, and the inclusion of social context in outcome criteria, more generally.