Obstacles to 12-step group participation as seen by addiction professionals: comparing Norway to the United States

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2010 Oct;39(3):210-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2010.06.001. Epub 2010 Jul 17.


Twelve-step groups (TSGs) are a valuable recovery resource for substance-dependent individuals. However, some aspects of these fellowships are controversial and may limit clinician referrals. This study describes attitude- and knowledge-based barriers to TSG participation as seen by addiction professionals in Norway, a treatment culture in which less than 5% of programs use the 12-step philosophy, and compares the findings with those of a similar study in the United States. Data were collected in Norway in mid-2008 using a self-administered questionnaire, and the U.S. sample was obtained from historical data. The Norwegian professionals (n = 291) considered the religious aspects of TSGs a considerable obstacle to participation, whereas the U.S. providers (n = 100) did not. Treatment providers unfamiliar with the 12-step philosophy need to be better informed of TSGs' "higher power" concept to educate patients and maximize the utilization of TSGs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Self-Help Groups / organization & administration*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States