Group cohesion and between session homework activities predict self-reported cognitive-behavioral skill use amongst participants of SMART Recovery groups
SMART Recovery groups are cognitive-behaviorally oriented mutual support groups for individuals with addictions. The aim of the study was to assess the extent to which the quality of group facilitation, group cohesion and the use of between session homework activities contribute to self-rated use of cognitive-behavioral skills amongst group participants. Participants attending SMART Recovery groups in Australia completed a cross sectional survey (N = 124). The survey included measures of cognitive and behavioral skill utilization, group cohesion, quality of group facilitation and a rating of how frequently participants leave group meetings with an achievable between session homework plan. On average, participants had been attending SMART Recovery meetings for 9 months. Participants were most likely to attend SMART Recovery for problematic alcohol use. Regression analyses indicated that group cohesion significantly predicted use of cognitive restructuring, but that only provision of homework at the end of each group session predicted self-reported behavioral activation. Both group cohesion and leaving a group with an achievable homework plan predicted participant use of cognitive behavioral skills. The concrete actions associated with homework activities may facilitate behavioral activation. There is a need for longitudinal research to examine the relationship between the utilization of cognitive and behavioral skills and participant outcomes (e.g. substance use, mental health) for people attending SMART Recovery groups.