Epidemiology of alcoholics anonymous participation

Recent Dev Alcohol. 2008;18:261-82. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-77725-2_15.


This chapter draws on AA membership surveys, US general population surveys, and longitudinal treatment data to compile profiles of those ever exposed to AA in their lifetime, those who no longer report AA meeting attendance, and those who attend AA meetings currently. We consider demographics (gender, age, ethnicity, marital status), receipt of specialty treatment, and short- and long-term abstinence rates among these AA exposure groups. Results suggest stability in the representation of women and minorities among the AA membership, but a decline among youth. Fully one-half of those completing AA's most recent membership survey reported that they had been abstinent for more than 5 years. Those receiving specialty treatment any given year are likely to report AA exposure that year. Disengagement from AA does not appear to necessarily translate to loss of abstinence among those with initial high levels of AA exposure, but long-term abstinence is more likely among those with continued engagement.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholics Anonymous*
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Patient Participation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Participation / trends
  • Prevalence
  • Temperance
  • United States / epidemiology