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Recovery and Risk of Relapse 

Image by Jackson David

Substance use recovery is a dynamic process. Relapse, often part of the recovery process, may be a challenge for individuals pursuing an abstinence-based recovery. This study helps identify what might indicate the risk of relapse by looking at the relationship between valuation of future rewards, time in recovery, and an individual’s perceived risk of relapse. How people make present and future choices is associated with the severity of substance use disorder. The results of this study show that devaluing the future is associated with a shorter time in recovery and a higher perceived risk of relapse. In other words, how much one values larger but delayed rewards compared to immediate and smaller rewards may identify individuals at higher risk of relapse. The recovery process is different for different people and as we learn more about how choices are related to risks, our understanding of how to help those struggling with substance use will improve.  Read more here.

Recovery and Quality of Life 

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Recovery from substance use disorder is a multidimensional process that involves not only abstinence, but also one’s wellness, health, and quality of life. Data from the IQRR show that degree of impulsivity predicts quality of life and remission status among individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. More specifically, those in remission showed lower impulsivity (preference for larger later rewards instead of smaller sooner) that, in turn, was indicative of greater quality of life. These findings may help identify sub-groups that require special treatment or unique interventions to overcome their addiction. Read more here.

Recovery and Self-Efficacy 

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Go Team

Previous studies have indicated that confidence in the ability to remain abstinent from drug use among individuals with addiction predicts treatment outcomes and risk of relapse. Data from the IQRR has revealed that among individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, those who value the future less (prefer smaller but immediate rewards over bigger but delayed ones) show lower confidence in their ability to remain abstinent from drug use. Therefore, these individuals might be at higher risk of relapse. This finding may help us better identify and target subgroups that need unique or more intensive interventions to address higher risks of relapse and increase their likelihood of abstinence.

Recovery and Family History  

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Parent and Child

Family history of addiction is a risk factor for substance use disorders. Data from the IQRR has revealed that among individuals in recovery from substance use disorders, those with two parents with addiction are significantly more impulsive (prefer smaller but immediate rewards over bigger but delayed ones) compared to those with one or no parents with addiction. This information may help us identify and target important subgroups that need additional intervention strategies to address their larger degree of impulsivity and help maintain abstinence or achieve better treatment outcomes.


We are pleased to announce that data gathering for the Social Interactome project is complete! Over the past 4 years, we’ve run 7 instances of the Social Interactome—each with at least 256 people. Over 1900 individuals, all connected to one another by the impact drug addiction has had on our lives and communities.

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It is our mission to understand the mechanisms underlying addiction and recovery so we can help those afflicted and prevent such problems from happening in the future as well as disseminate strategies that may help maintain recovery. By observing our participants' actions in the Social Interactome environment, we have gained significant insights into how social media may be used as a tool to improve recovery rates and minimize relapses. We are now working hard to process the data collected and publish our findings in scholarly journals so this new knowledge may be shared with the world.

Thank you to the individuals that participated in the Social Interactome. You make our research possible, and we hope you can take pride in knowing you contributed to ARRC’s mission. Please look forward to future research publications coming from ARRC, and we hope you will remain connected with us to participate in future studies! 

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