Social Network Cohesion among Veterans Living in Recovery Homes

Mil Behav Health. 2021;9(1):55-68. doi: 10.1080/21635781.2020.1796859. Epub 2020 Aug 3.


Recovery homes for individuals with substance use disorders (SUD) called Oxford House (OH) have been shown to improve the prospects of a successful recovery across different sub-populations, and these homes may be particularly beneficial for veterans in recovery. An estimated 18% of OH residents are veterans; however, not much is known about their experiences living in these homes. Participants included 85 veterans and non-veterans living in 13 OHs located in different regions of the United States. Using social network analysis and multi-level modeling, we investigated whether the social networks of veterans residing with other veterans were more cohesive compared to veterans living with only non-veterans. Results indicated that veterans residing with other veterans had stronger relationships with other OH residents compared to veterans that reside with all non-veterans. The implications for theory and practice are discussed. Further research is needed to determine if greater social network cohesion leads to better recovery outcomes for veterans.

Keywords: Veterans; aftercare; cohesion; peer support; recovery homes; social identity theory; social networks; substance use disorders.