Determinants of recovery capital among persons in early and stable recovery from drug addiction
Recovery capital has been defined as the sum total of one’s personal, social and community resources to initiate and maintain recovery. Several instruments have been developed to assess recovery capital, illustrating the concept’s importance in addiction recovery. Yet, little is known about the determinants of recovery capital and how recovery capital evolves over time.
Based on a convenience sample of adults in recovery from a drug addiction in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Belgium who were assessed twice over a 1-year period (n=311), we measured recovery capital using the BARC (Brief Assessment of Recovery Capital) and various background variables and recovery indicators. Recovery capital was compared at baseline and 12 months later between persons in early (<1 year), sustained (1-5 years) and stable (>5 years) recovery, looking for determinants of recovery capital using multivariate regression analyses.
The amount of recovery capital at baseline was positively associated with the degree of social support and quality of life, while recent substance use, poorer mental health and more perceived stigma were negative correlates of recovery capital. Individuals in early recovery had significantly less recovery capital than those in sustained and stable recovery at both assessment moments. Surprisingly, BARC-scores for recovery capital at follow-up were significantly lower than 12 months earlier for persons in all three recovery stages. Determinants of recovery capital at follow-up were high subjective quality of life and social support, poor mental and physical health and fewer years in recovery.
Recovery capital has become an increasingly important construct for measuring and predicting addiction recovery and is strongly represented among persons in stable recovery. Despite significant but slight reductions in recovery capital over time, it is recommended to use the BARC in treatment populations to address strengths and barriers in recovery capital.