• Social and transitional identity: exploring social networks and their significance in a therapeutic community setting

      Best, David; I. Lubman, Dan; Savic, Michael; Wilson, Ann; Dingle, Genevieve; Alexander Haslam, S.; Haslam, Catherine; Jetten, Jolanda; Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, Eastern Health: Eastern Health, Fitzroy, Australia and Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia; University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia (Emerald, 2014-04-08)
      There is considerable literature indicating the importance of social connectedness and its relationship to wellbeing. For problem substance users, a similar literature emphasises the importance of the transition from a social network supportive of use to one that fosters recovery. Within this framework, the therapeutic community (TC) is seen as a critical location for adopting a transitional identity (i.e. from a “drug user” to a “member of the TC”), as part of the emergence of a “recovery identity” following treatment. The purpose of this paper is to outline a model for conceptualising and measuring identity based on the theories of social identity and recovery capital, and pilots this model within a TC setting. A social identity mapping was used with TC residents to test their identification with “using” and “TC” groups, and their relationship to recovery capital. The network mapping method was acceptable to TC residents, and provided valuable insights into the social networks and social identity of TC residents. This paper explores issues around mapping social identity and its potential in the TC and other residential settings. The paper integrates a number of conceptual models to create a new framework for understanding transitions in social networks during treatment and reports on a novel measurement method underpinning this.