Youth Participation in Mutual Support Groups: History, Current Knowledge, and Areas for Future Research
Mutual support groups have the potential to be a powerful support network for youth with substance use problems. There is a long history of youth being referred to and participating in these groups, yet research regarding the effectiveness of their participation is in its early stages. In recent years, a small but growing body of literature has been devoted to this topic. This article: (1) summarizes the history of youth involvement in mutual support groups; (2) reviews research on youth involvement in mutual support meetings and evidence of effectiveness; (3) describes implementation of and lessons learned from a pilot study that attempted to increase youth attendance and involvement with three types of 12-step groups; and (4) provides recommendations for future research related to mutual support groups and youth.