Research News - July 2021

A big month for SMART's Research Advisory Committee

angela argent
Dr Angela Argent
National Program Manager (Research Lead)

SMART Recovery Australia links with the latest thinking through our Research Advisory Committee (RAC), formed in 2014, and SMART Recovery International’s Global Research Advisory Committee (GRAC), formed in July 2020.

Our research teams help us understand the ‘active ingredients’ of how SMART supports participants and how we can always do better by them as we continue to work with the newest evidence.

It has been a good couple of weeks for the G/RAC. In the last month the team have had a couple of peer reviewed articles published, had some joy with an Australian Drug Foundation grant to build capacity for SMART Family and Friends program and our fearless leader, Associate Professor Pete Kelly and his intrepid team won the University of Wollongong Vice Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Partnership and Impact for their research collaboration with SMART Recovery Australia and SMART Recovery International.

One of the recent publications is about the use of SMART Recovery groups by people who use methamphetamine (twenty-two per cent of SMART participants here in Australia attend meetings to discuss their behaviours in relation to methamphetamine use, second only to people discussing behaviours in relation to alcohol). We know that seeking support for any of us can be difficult because of stigma, shame and not knowing where to look for help. Mutual support groups, including SMART, are an important part of the jigsaw for people wanting to make a change.

From previous studies we knew that cohesion or ‘oneness’ in the group matters for CBT uptake, active participation and better treatment outcomes. We thought we’d start by asking facilitators about group cohesion within their groups over a two year period and what that looks like for them. What we found was really interesting.

Facilitator ratings of group cohesion were strong regardless of who the participants in any group were (4.5 out of 6 (average) across all 3841 groups surveyed). We learned that in groups where most participants attended re methamphetamine use, cohesion was stronger where group sizes were larger, where there was a larger proportion of women, younger people or participants requiring proof of attendance. This goes to show that differences among participants attending SMART meetings can be helpful to growing group cohesion. You can read this article here.

The RAC and GRAC include leading researchers in the sciences of substance dependence and harm minimisation. You can view the profiles of members of both teams here:

SMART Recovery Australia Research Advisory Committee

SMART Recovery International Global Research Advisory Committee

You can find an extensive bibliography of SMART research here. 

We’ll have a Research FAQ available soon, Watch this space.

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