3 years ago

A Tale of Two Towns: A Comparative Study Exploring the Possibilities and Pitfalls of Social Capital among People Seeking Recovery from Substance Misuse

Samantha Weston, Stuart Honor, David Best

Background: Social capital has become an influential concept in debating and understanding the modern world. Within the drug and alcohol sector, the concept of ‘recovery capital’ has gained traction with researchers suggesting that people who have access to such capital are better placed to overcome their substance use-related problems than those who do not (Cloud and Granfield, 2008), leading to requests for interventions that focus on building social capital networks (Neale & Stevenson, 2015). While accepting that the concept of social capital has enormous potential for addressing the problems associated with drug use, this paper also considers its ‘dark side’. Methods: Data were drawn from semi-structured interviews with 180 participants including 135 people who use drugs and 45 people who formerly used drugs. Results: High levels of trust, acquired through the establishment of dense social networks, are required to initiate recovery. However, these ‘strong bonds’ may also lead to the emergence of what is perceived by others as an exclusive social network that limits membership to those who qualify and abide by the ‘rules’ of the recovery community, particularly around continuous abstinence. Conclusions: Depending on the nature of the networks and the types of links participants have into them being socially connected can both inhibit and encourage recovery. Therefore, the successful application of social capital within the drugs and alcohol field requires a consideration of not only the presence or absence of social connections but their nature, the value they produce, and the social contexts within which they are developed.

Publisher URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10826084.2017.1341925

DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2017.1341925

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.