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Journey to wellness: A socioecological analysis of veterans in recovery from substance use disorders

APA Citation:

Grisamore, S. P., Nguyen, R. L., Wiedbusch, E. K., Guerrero, M., Cope, C. E. A., Abo, M. G., & Jason, L. A. (2022). Journey to wellness: A socioecological analysis of veterans in recovery from substance use disorders. American Journal of Community Psychology, 70(3-4), 394-406. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajcp.12615

Abstract Created by REACH:

This study examined the experiences of Veterans in recovery from substance use disorders, who were current or former residents of Oxford House (OH), a network of community-based recovery homes. Veterans (N = 20) participated in focus groups to discuss their experiences as well as their recovery. Researchers analyzed data through the lens of the connectedness, hope/optimism, identity, meaning in life, empowerment, and difficulties (CHIME-D) framework, an established recovery framework. Results were then organized using a socioecological approach focused on intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community aspects of recovery. Across all socioecological contexts, connectedness, empowerment, and difficulties were the most notable themes for Veterans in recovery.


Substance use
Mental health

Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Qualitative Study


Grisamore, Simone P., Nguyen, Rebecca L., Wiedbusch, Elzbieta K., Guerrero, Mayra, Cope, Carlie E. A., Abo, Mary G., Jason, Leonard A.


Substance use disorders are increasingly prevalent among veterans in the United States. Veterans in recovery face unique challenges, such as high rates of psychiatric comorbidities, difficulties adjusting to civilian life, and inadequate housing and mental health services. While prior research has explored veterans' experiences in recovery, studies have not implemented a multilevel perspective in their analyses. The current qualitative study examined how individual veteran experiences intersect with interpersonal and systemic factors. Semistructured focus groups were conducted with veterans who were former or current residents of recovery homes (N = 20). Thematic analysis was utilized to explore veterans' personal experiences through the CHIME-D framework (connectedness, hope & optimism, identity, meaning in life, empowerment, and difficulties). The data were further analyzed within a socioecological model (intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community). Each component of the CHIME-D framework was salient across all focus groups, with connectedness, empowerment, and difficulties being the most prominent themes that occurred across all socioecological levels. Results suggest that recovery initiatives can effectively assist veterans by promoting empowerment, facilitating social connections, and addressing cooccurring difficulties across multiple socioecological contexts. Additionally, treatment programs should encourage veterans to take on meaningful roles in their communities. Future research should continue to explore veterans' recovery experiences using a socioecological model.

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

Wiley Online

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Drexel University, SPG
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, RLN
Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, University of South Florida, EKW
Department of Psychology, Michigan State University, MG
Department of Learning Sciences, Georgia State University, CEAC
Center for Community Research, DePaul University, MGA
Center for Community Research, DePaul University, LAJ


recovery, social support, community

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary

REACH Newsletter:

  January 2023

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