Recovery Housing Literature

Selected Recovery Housing Research

This resource list is intended to help those new to the recovery housing literature by providing key articles that highlight whether, how, and for whom recovery housing works. It was curated by experts in the field who have contributed over the years to this literature and should be viewed as dynamic, as the research on recovery housing is ever-expanding.

This resource list is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all research on recovery housing, as roughly 300 articles on the topic have been published in scholarly journals. Similarly, just because a topic area is not highlighted, it does not mean that this topic has not been researched.

Please feel free to contact us with information about new resources as they become available or about how we can make this list more helpful.

Jason, L. A., Olson, B. D., & Harvey, R. (2015). Evaluating Alternative Aftercare Models for Ex-Offenders. Journal of drug issues, 45(1), 53–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022042614552019

Jason, L. A., Olson, B. D., Ferrari, J. R., & Lo Sasso, A. T. (2006). Communal housing settings enhance substance abuse recovery. American journal of public health, 96(10), 1727–1729. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2005.070839

Mericle, A. A., Slaymaker, V., Gliske, K., Ngo, Q., & Subbaraman, M. S. (2022). The role of recovery housing during outpatient substance use treatment. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 133, 108638. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108638

Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R. A., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). Sober living houses for alcohol and drug dependence: 18-month outcomes. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 38(4), 356-365. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2010.02.003

Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). Eighteen Month Outcomes for Clients Receiving Combined Outpatient Treatment and Sober Living Houses. Journal of substance use, 15(5), 352–366. https://doi.org/10.3109/14659890903531279

Reif, S., George, P., Braude, L., Dougherty, R. H., Daniels, A. S., Ghose, S. S., & Delphin-Rittmon, M. E. (2014). Recovery housing: assessing the evidence. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.), 65(3), 295–300. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.201300243

Tuten, M., Shadur, J. M., Stitzer, M., & Jones, H. E. (2017). A comparison of reinforcement based treatment (RBT) versus RBT plus recovery housing (RBTRH). Journal of substance abuse treatment, 72, 48-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2016.09.001

Vanderplasschen, W., Colpaert, K., Autrique, M., Rapp, R. C., Pearce, S., Broekaert, E., & Vandevelde, S. (2013). Therapeutic communities for addictions: a review of their effectiveness from a recovery-oriented perspective. TheScientificWorldJournal, 2013, 427817. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/427817

Lo Sasso, A. T., Byro, E., Jason, L. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Olson, B. (2012). Benefits and costs associated with mutual-help community-based recovery homes: The Oxford House model. Evaluation and program planning, 35(1), 47–53. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2011.06.006

Olson, B. D., Viola, J., Jason, L. A., Davis, M. I., Ferrari, J. R., & Rabin-Belyaev, O. (2006). Economic costs of Oxford House inpatient treatment and incarceration: a preliminary report. Journal of prevention & intervention in the community, 31(1-2), 63–72. https://doi.org/10.1300/J005v31n01_06


Social Support/Networks

Jason, L. A., Bobak, T., Islam, M., Guerrero, M., & Light, J. M. (2022). Social integration in recovery living environments: A dynamic network approach. Journal of community psychology, 50(3), 1616–1625. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22739

Jason, L.A., Guerrero, M., Lynch, G., Stevens, E., Salomon-Amend, M., & Light, J.N.  (2020). Recovery home networks as social capital. Journal of Community Psychology, 48, 645–65.   https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22277 

Korcha, R. A., Polcin, D. L., & Bond, J. C. (2016). Interaction of Motivation and Social Support on Abstinence among Recovery Home Residents. Journal of drug issues46(3), 164–177. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022042616629514

Light, J. M., Jason, L. A., Stevens, E. B., Callahan, S., & Stone, A. (2016). A Mathematical Framework for the Complex System Approach to Group Dynamics: The Case of Recovery House Social Integration. Group dynamics: theory, research, and practice : the official journal of Division 49, Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy of the American Psychological Association, 20(1), 51–64. https://doi.org/10.1037/gdn0000040


Sense of Community

Stevens, E., Guerrero, M., Green, A., & Jason, L. A. (2018). Relationship of hope, sense of community, and quality of life. Journal of community psychology, 46(5), 567–574. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21959

Jason, L. A., Stevens, E., & Light, J. M. (2016). The relationship of sense of community and trust to hope. Journal of community psychology, 44(3), 334–341. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.21771


Recovery Capital

Best, D., Sondhi, A., Best, J., Lehman, J., Grimes, A., Conner, M., & DeTriquet, R.  (2023) Using recovery capital to predict retention and change in recovery residences in Virginia, USA. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 41(2), 250-262, DOI: 10.1080/07347324.2023.2182246

Cano, I., Best, D., Edwards, M., & Lehman, J. (2017). Recovery capital pathways: Modelling the components of recovery wellbeing. Drug and alcohol dependence, 181, 11–19. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.09.002

Majer, J. M., Jason, L. A., & Bobak, T. J (2022). Understanding recovery capital in relation to categorical 12-Step involvement and abstinence social support. Addiction research & theory, 30(3), 207-212. https://doi.org/10.1080/16066359.2021.1999935

Polcin, D. L., Mahoney, E., Witbrodt, J., Subbaraman, M., & Mericle, A. A. (2023). Outcomes Among Sober Living House Residents Who Relapse: Role of Recovery Capital. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 1–9. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2023.2225502


Setting and Environment

Jason, L. A., Groh, D. R., Durocher, M., Alvarez, J., Aase, D. M., & Ferrari, J. R. (2008). Counteracting ‘Not in My Backyard’: The Positive Effects of Greater Occupancy within Mutual-help Recovery Homes. Journal of community psychology, 36(7), 947–958. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.20259

Jason, L. A., Guerrero, M., Salomon-Amend, M., Stevens, E., Light, J. M., & Stoolmiller, M. (2021). Context matters: Home-level but not individual-level recovery social capital predicts residents’ relapse. American journal of community psychology, 67(3-4), 392–404. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12481

Mericle, A. A., Patterson, D., Howell, J., Subbaraman, M. S., Faxio, A., & Karriker-Jaffe, K. J. (2022). Identifying the availability of recovery housing in the U.S.: The NSTARR Project. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2021.109188

Mahoney, E., Karriker-Jaffe, K. J., Mericle, A. A., Patterson, D., Polcin, D. L., Subbaraman, M., & Witbrodt, J. (2023). Do neighborhood characteristics of sober living houses impact recovery outcomes? A multilevel analysis of observational data from Los Angeles County. Health & place, 79, 102951. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2022.102951

Mericle, A. A., Karriker-Jaffe, K., Patterson, D., Mahoney, E., Cooperman, L., & Polcin, D. L. (2020). Recovery in context: Sober living houses and the ecology of recovery. Journal of community psychology, 48(8), 2589–2607. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22447

Subbaraman, M. S., Mahoney, E., Witbrodt, J., Karriker-Jaffe, K., Mericle, A., & Polcin, D. (2023). Multilevel effects of environment and neighborhood factors on sober living house resident 12-month outcomes. Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs, 10.15288/jsad.22-00307. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.22-00307


House Policies, Practices, and Procedures

Mericle, A. A., Howell, J., Borkman, T., Subbaraman, M. S., Sanders, B. F., & Polcin, D. L. (2023). Social model recovery and recovery housing. Addiction research & theory, 31(5), 370-377, DOI: 10.1080/16066359.2023.2179996

Mericle, A. A., Mahoney, E., Korcha, R., Delucchi, K., & Polcin, D. L. (2019). Sober living house characteristics: A multilevel analyses of factors associated with improved outcomes. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 98, 28–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2018.12.004

Miles, J., Mericle, A., Ritter, G., & Reif, S. (2022). Association of facility characteristics and substance use disorder outcomes at discharge from residential treatment. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 136, 108664. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsat.2021.108664

Polcin, D. L., Mahoney, E., Witbrodt, J., Mericle, A. A., Subbaraman, M., & Wittman, F. D. (2023). Measuring Architecture in Recovery Homes: Recovery Home Architecture Scale. Substance use & misuse, 58(1), 103–110. https://doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2022.2148484

Polcin, D., Mericle, A., Howell, J., Sheridan, D., & Christensen, J. (2014). Maximizing social model principles in residential recovery settings. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 46(5), 436–443. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2014.960112


Women and Children

Guerrero, M., Longan, C., Cummings, C., Kassanits, J., Reilly, A., Stevens, E., & Jason, L. A. (2022). Women’s Friendships: A Basis for Individual-Level Resources and Their Connection to Power and Optimism. The Humanistic psychologist : bulletin of the Division of Humanistic Psychology, Division 32 of the American Psychological Association, 50(3), 360–375. https://doi.org/10.1037/hum0000295

Legler, R., Chiaramonte, D., Patterson, M., Allis, A., Runion, H., & Jason, L. (2012). The Effects of Children on the Process of Recovery in Oxford Houses. Journal of applied medical sciences, 1(2), 41–50.

Ortiz, E., Alvarez, J., Jason, L. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Groh, D. (2009). Abstinence Social Support: The Impact of Children in Oxford House. Journal of groups in addiction & recovery, 4(1-2), 71–81. https://doi.org/10.1080/15560350802712413

Permut, M., Greene, P.A. Stevens, E., & Jason, L.A. (2019).  Gender differences in the association between romantic relationships and relapse among individuals in early recovery in Oxford House. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. 37(3), 302-314. DOI: 10.1080/07347324.2018.1544057

Curtis, C. E., Jason, L. A., Olson, B. D., & Ferrari, J. R. (2005). Disordered eating, trauma, and sense of community: examining women in substance abuse recovery homes. Women & health, 41(4), 87–100. https://doi.org/10.1300/J013v41n04_05


Sexual/Gender Minorities

Beasley, C., Callahan, S., Stecker, E., Dekhtyar, M., Yang-Atian, C., Ponziano, F., Isler, B. & Jason, L.A (2017). Qualitative study of Transgender women and Cisgender men living together in two recovery homes. Archives of addiction and rehabilitation, 1, 104-111.

Mericle, A. A., Carrico, A. W., Hemberg, J., de Guzman, R., & Stall, R. (2020). Several Common Bonds: Addressing the Needs of Gay and Bisexual Men in LGBT-Specific Recovery Housing. Journal of homosexuality, 67(6), 793–815. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2018.1555394

Mericle, A. A., Carrico, A. W., Hemberg, J., Stall, R., & Polcin, D. L. (2019). Improving recovery outcomes among MSM: the potential role of recovery housing. Journal of substance use, 24(2), 140-146. https://doi.org/10.1080/14659891.2018.1523966

Mericle, A. A., Hemberg, J., Stall, R., & Carrico, A. W. (2019). Pathways to Recovery: Recovery housing models for men who have sex with men (MSM). Addiction research & theory, 27(5), 373–382. https://doi.org/10.1080/16066359.2018.1538409


Racial and Ethnic Minoritized Communities

Jason, L.A., Guerrero, M., Bobak, T., Light, J.M., & Stoolmiller, M. (2022). Reducing health disparities among Black individuals in the post-treatment environment. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse, 21(4), 1452-1467.  PMCID: PMC8649697  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2020.1861497

Jason, L. A., Luna, R. D., Alvarez, J., & Stevens, E. (2018). Collectivism and individualism in Latino recovery homes. Journal of ethnicity in substance abuse, 17(3), 223–236. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2016.1138267

Jason, L. A., Kassanits, J., Reilly, A., Bobak, T., Guerrero, M., Stevens, E., Light, J. M., & Doogan, N. J. (2019). A promising recovery housing model for American Indian communities. Journal of community psychology, 47(8), 1926–1936. https://doi.org/10.1002/jcop.22237

Jason, L. A., Digangi, J. A., Alvarez, J., Contreras, R., Lopez-Tamayo, R., Gallardo, S., & Flores, S. (2013). Evaluating a bilingual voluntary community-based healthcare organization. Journal of ethnicity in substance abuse, 12(4), 321–338. https://doi.org/10.1080/15332640.2013.836729

Kidney, C. A., Alvarez, J., Jason, L. A., Ferrari, J. R., & Minich, L. (2011). Residents of mutual help recovery homes, characteristics and outcomes: Comparison of four US ethnic subgroups. Drugs (Abingdon, England), 18(1), 32–39. https://doi.org/10.3109/09687630903440022


Marginally-house and Legal System-involved

Jason, L. A., Olson, B. D., & Harvey, R. (2015). Evaluating Alternative Aftercare Models for Ex-Offenders. Journal of drug issues, 45(1), 53–68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022042614552019

Polcin D. L. (2018). Role of recovery residences in criminal justice reform. The International journal on drug policy, 53, 32–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.10.009

Polcin, D. L., & Korcha, R. (2017). Housing Status, Psychiatric Symptoms, and Substance Abuse Outcomes Among Sober Living House Residents over 18 Months. Addictive disorders & their treatment, 16(3), 138–150. https://doi.org/10.1097/ADT.0000000000000105

Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Mericle, A. A., Mahoney, E., & Hemberg, J. (2017). Problems and Service Needs Among Ex-Offenders with HIV Risk Behaviors Entering Sober Living Recovery Homes. Criminal justice studies (Abingdon, England), 30(4), 381–400.

Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R., Witbrodt, J., Mericle, A. A., & Mahoney, E. (2018). Motivational interviewing case management (MICM) for persons on probation or parole entering sober living houses. Criminal justice and behavior, 45(11), 1634–1659. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093854818784099

The NIH HEAL Initiative®

The I-STARR Project is supported through the NIH HEAL Initiative. The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Launched in April 2018, the initiative is focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management.

NIH HEAL Initiative and Helping to End Addiction Long-term are registered service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Consortium on Addiction Recovery Science (CoARS)

The I-STARR and several other projects comprise the Consortium on Addiction Recovery Science (CoARS). Across these programs, a core interest and focus is on how recovery support services can help address the opioid epidemic, in particular, through supporting the use of medications for opioid use disorder.

CoARS Projects

Advancing the Science on Recovery Community Centers: RCC’s

Through this project, we are building a research infrastructure that enhances the study of recovery community centers with a focus on their utility for persons who were or who are being maintained on medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder.

The JEAP Initiative

Recovery support services for people experiencing substance use disorder are multiplying, but there is little research on what makes these services effective. We’re working to change that.

Partnership to End Addiction

The Family Involvement in Recovery Support and Treatment (FIRST) Research Network is a NIDA-funded (1R24DA051946; PI: Hogue) multidisciplinary collaborative dedicated to promoting family integration in treatment and recovery services for youth with opioid use disorder (OUD) and other substance use disorders (SUDs).

STARS Network

The Studies To Advance Recovery Support (STARS) Network, is a thematic, stakeholder-focused research network that aims to generate trainings, tools, and platforms targeted to the implementation and study of peer recovery support services for individuals treated with medications for opioid use disorder. The STARS Network provides a critical foundation for high-priority research on peer recovery support services to inform the expansion of peer recovery support services and advance recovery among individuals with opioid use disorder.

Innovations in Recovery through Infrastructure Support

IRIS develops and disseminates effective opioid recovery support strategies through strong community-academic partnerships. This is achieved through trainings, funded pilot projects, and other collaborative efforts to create and answer important recovery research questions.

Peer Recovery Innovation Network (PRIN)

The Peer Recovery Innovation Network (PRIN) convenes and coordinates national peer recovery support service community-based experts, substance use researchers, and individuals with lived opioid and other substance use disorder experience.

Collaborative Hub for Emerging Adult Recovery Research (CHEARR)

This project will develop a network of advanced researchers, recovery support specialists, emerging adults in recovery, and other key partner communities to help rapidly advance the science on recovery support services, particularly clinical continuing care, that are specialized for emerging adults who take or who have taken medications for opioid use disorder.

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