Although social support is a resource that helps persons in their recovery from substance use disorders, it is not clear whether specific types buffer the effects of stress and optimize outcomes for those with psychiatric comorbidity. This investigation examined two types of social support in relation to lengths of stay to identify mechanisms related to retention among individuals with psychiatric comorbidity living in community-based settings.
Baseline rates of social support (abstinence specific and general types) and stress were examined in relation to follow-up lengths of stay (at four-months and beyond) among individuals (N = 368) with psychiatric comorbidity (n = 90) and no psychiatric comorbidity (n = 278) living in community-based settings (Oxford Houses) in the U.S. The psychiatric severity index of the Addiction Severity Index was used as a proxy measure of psychiatric comorbidity. Moderated mediation analyses were conducted to test the potential mediating effects of abstinence social support and general social support on the relationship between stress and lengths of stay, and whether these were influenced by psychiatric comorbidity.
A full mediating effect was observed for abstinence social support for residents with psychiatric comorbidity, whereas a partial mediating effect for general social support was observed for all residents.
Findings demonstrate qualities of social support have differential effects, substantiating the notion that specific components of social support optimize outcomes for those with psychiatric comorbidity living in recovery homes.

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