Network support for drinking has been defined as the extent to which an individual's social network is supportive of his or her drinking behaviour. In contrast to general social support - which is often a predictive factor for many addictive disorders - network support for drinking has been consistently shown to predict negative outcomes for people dealing with alcohol problems. Interventions for people whose social networks are geared around drink have aimed at either decreasing the support for drinking or increasing the support for abstinence. A study of 952 outpatients being treated for drinking problems in Chicago compared the effects of cognitive behaviour therapy, motivational enhancement therapy and twelve-step facilitation (Alchoholics Anonymous) on preventing relapse in people with a high network support for drinking. Only twelve-step facilitation was effective in reducing drinking in this group suggesting that the social network of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings went some way to replacing the previous drinking network.
Wu, Johnny and Witkiewitz, Katie - Network support for drinking : an application of multiple groups growth mixture modeling to examine client-treatment matching Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs January 2008, 69(1), 21-29