Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Therapeutic communities provide structure, support and a safe living environment for individuals attempting to recover from addiction. Using peer influence, counseling, education, self-help groups, and case management, they assist residents in conforming to social norms and developing effective coping mechanisms while remaining drug-free. Prior studies have consistently demonstrated the effectiveness of these programs. But, why are they effective for some and not others? This study explored the residents1 backgrounds and the methods employed by them to assimilate into the therapeutic community, the recovering community, and then society at large. The data confirmed my suspicion that the women's ability to conform to social norms and develop effective coping mechanisms was dependent upon the level of attachment to prosocial others they attained while in a therapeutic community. The rules and requirements of Flower House are designed to promote prosocial attachments and conformity to social norms. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 15 past and present residents of Flower House, a therapeutic community for substance-abusing women and their children. These women volunteered to participate.


Sociology | Substance Abuse and Addiction