Use of alcoholics anonymous as part of medical school education: students' and educators' perspectives

Subst Abus. 2012;33(4):387-91. doi: 10.1080/08897077.2011.646110.


The objective of this study was to discover the utility, barriers, and experiences with the use of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a learning resource in the medical school curriculum. A third-year medical student cohort and a psychiatric educator group were queried about learned experiential lessons, attendance requirements, attitudes, and obstacles encountered. Forty-three educators, whose familiarity with AA varied widely, responded to the survey. Forty-seven percent required AA attendance and reported it was a positive experience for their students. Eighty-four percent felt students should attend AA and identified obstacles to its implementation. Separately, descriptive impressions of students (N = 95) who attended AA meetings were collected. Their responses were positive 46%, neutral 43%, or negative 11%. Respondents found AA meeting experiences generally positive, and although impediments to implementation of this experience still exist, they may be overcome with concerted efforts of psychiatric educators.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholics Anonymous*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / statistics & numerical data
  • Faculty, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires