Scientists find a ground-breaking tool for addiction recovery

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Understanding Addiction and Recovery

Addiction recovery isn’t a straightforward process. It’s a journey that’s different for everyone, influenced by a variety of factors.

Some people have more resources and support to aid their recovery, while others may struggle more due to various life circumstances.

These factors are referred to as ‘recovery capital’. It includes social, physical, human, and cultural resources, such as family and friends, stable housing, health attributes, and community-level resources.

Recovery capital can also involve negative factors that make recovery harder, like family members who don’t understand addiction.

The Birth of the MIRC

A multidisciplinary team led by Elizabeth Bowen, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, recognized the need for a reliable way to measure these positive and negative factors influencing recovery.

Thanks to a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, they developed and tested the Multidimensional Inventory of Recovery Capital (MIRC).

The MIRC offers a more comprehensive approach compared to previous tools and aligns more closely with the broad spectrum of recovery capital theory.

How the MIRC Works

The MIRC measures the four types of recovery capital, offering a way to quantify the resources available for someone’s recovery journey.

This assessment tool can help identify disparities and inequities in access to recovery resources, which is crucial for tailoring interventions and support to individuals’ needs.

Developing and Testing the MIRC

The development process of the MIRC was thorough and meticulous.

The team started with a broad list of potential items, which they shared with a group of 44 individuals, including service providers and people in recovery. This feedback was instrumental in fine-tuning the tool.

The team then tested a draft measure with a sample of 497 people in recovery from alcohol problems.

They used psychometric testing, a standard method for checking the suitability and reliability of a tool, to analyze how the items performed and the differences among the respondents.

Based on these findings, they made further adjustments and tested a revised draft with a new sample of 482 participants. The results confirmed that the MIRC is a reliable and valid measure of recovery capital.

The Value of the MIRC

The MIRC isn’t just a measure of recovery capital; it’s also a tool that highlights the voices of people in recovery.

The team made a conscious effort to include a diverse sample in each testing phase, considering racial, ethnic, economic, and gender diversity, as well as diversity in terms of recovery experience.

The MIRC is now publicly available for download from the UB School of Social Work’s website.

It can serve as a tool for self-reflection or assessment, a conversation starter between social workers and clients, and a valuable resource for further study on recovery and recovery trajectories.

Dr. Bowen encourages those who can benefit from the MIRC to download a copy, expressing her excitement about the potential of this tool to assess recovery capital and address existing inequities in the recovery process.

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The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

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