United States Department of Veterans Affairs
Mental Health

Self-Help Toolkit: Impact of Self-Help Groups on Special Populations

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Impact of Self-Help Groups on Special Populations
Sub-populations of patients often report special concerns about self-help participation. These concerns can act as barriers to engagement in programs. However, it can be helpful for your patient to know:
  • Some special populations, such as women, may participate more in and benefit more from 12-step groups than men.

  • More commonly, special populations may participate less in 12-step groups than mainstream groups do, but when they do participate, they benefit just as much or even more. This may be true for older people and some racial/ethnic groups such as Hispanics.

  • 12-step group participation has positive outcomes for the special populations of women, youth, older people, Hispanics, and individuals with co-occurring non-psychotic disorders.

For information about specific populations see: Timko, C. Outcomes of AA for Special Populations.

Population page info:
  • Women: page 3
  • Youth: page 6
  • Old People: page 8
  • Hispanics: page 13
  • Disabled Group: page 14
  • Co-occurring disorders: page 15