Online SMART Recovery mutual support groups: Characteristics and experience of adults seeking treatment for methamphetamine compared to those seeking treatment for other addictive behaviours

Publication Name

Drug and Alcohol Review


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic prompted the transition of Australian Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) Recovery mutual support groups to virtual delivery. This study examined the self-reported experience of online SMART Recovery groups for people seeking support for methamphetamine use (alone or in combination with other behaviours) compared to those who did not endorse methamphetamine use as a reason for seeking support. Methods: An online survey invitation was embedded in the post-group exit page. Items assessed participant demographic characteristics, experience, engagement and perceived contribution of the online group to recovery. Unique responses (n = 1414) were analysed using chi-square. Results: After alcohol, methamphetamine use was the second most common behaviour to prompt online SMART Recovery group attendance (n = 205, 14.5%). People attending for methamphetamine use were more likely to endorse multiple addictive behaviours (n = 137, 66.8% vs. n = 371, 30.7%, p < 0.001). Irrespective of whether people attended for methamphetamine use or not, participant ratings of experience, engagement and perceived contribution to recovery were positive and largely comparable. People attending for methamphetamine use were significantly less likely to set a 7-day plan (72.7% vs. 81.9%; χ2 = 9.47, p = 0.002). Discussion and Conclusions: Findings support the acceptability of online SMART Recovery groups for people experiencing addictive behaviours, including methamphetamine use. To maximise the benefits of these groups, further evidence on how best to support people to develop a change plan within a time-limited, online group setting is needed. Online mutual support groups may help to reach and support people who might not otherwise engage in treatment and support, including people who use methamphetamine.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access

Funding Sponsor

Department of Health, Australian Government



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