Participatory Action Research as a Strategy for Studying Self-Help Groups Internationally
Conventional wisdom about 12 step mutual help programs for substance abusers holds that these organizations appeal primarily to white, middle class men. The question of whether 12 step programs are appropriate for disenfranchised groups viewed as one open to debate not only because of the mixed evidence but also because most investigations of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) attendance are cross sectional studies with no comparison groups. Conventional wisdom about AA and NA does not stand up under the scrutiny afforded by more powerful research design strategies. This chapter Participants were 558 persons who were interviewed at the time of their admission to one of 32 public substance abuse treatment agencies in the state of Michigan and who were followed up 12 months later. One year after treatment, African Americans were attending mutual help groups at the same rate as white clients. The African American community has a long history of engaging in mutual help activities of various sorts.