Younger age, financial security linked to shorter stays in sober homes | Nebraska today

Welcome to Pocket Science: an overview of recent research by Husker scientists and engineers. For those who want to quickly learn the “What”, “So what” and “Now what” of Husker research.


People in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction sometimes move into sober homes: substance-free facilities that offer affordable housing and a structured lifestyle designed to support recovery.

Some preliminary research suggests that longer stays in sober homes are associated with better outcomes, including sustained sobriety. But few studies have examined what demographic and contextual factors might be linked to these longer and potentially restorative stays, especially among women with histories of substance abuse and victimization.

So what?

To investigate these factors, Katie Edwards and her colleagues in Nebraska collected survey data from 45 women who stayed in a sober house that serves those with a history of substance use and trauma related to domestic violence. or sexual. The women responded to the survey by entering the sober home, then did so again six and 12 months later.

This survey measured many factors: length of stay, levels of post-traumatic stress and depression, financial worries, housing instability, recent victimization, and alcohol and drug use.

Almost two-thirds of the women said they had been in the sober house for less than three months – well below the six-month threshold that some studies have found may reduce the risk of relapse into substance abuse. According to the surveys, only older age and greater financial worries were associated with the likelihood of staying longer than three months.

Now what?

The researchers called for future studies to include larger and more diverse samples that could provide personal insights into why women leave sober homes. But preliminary results suggest sober homes should consider focusing on retaining younger women with fewer financial burdens.

Upcoming research from the Nebraska team will highlight the strengths of women with histories of substance abuse and victimization. It will also assess the effectiveness of the sober living center that housed the 45 women interviewed.

Sarah J. Greer