This study examines the relationship among 4 treatment stages (i.e., engagement, persuasion, active treatment, relapse prevention) and the composition, social support, and structural characteristics of personal networks. The study sample includes 242 women diagnosed with substance dependence, who were interviewed within their first month of intensive outpatient treatment. Using EgoNet software, the women reported on their 25 alter personal networks and the characteristics of each alter. With one exception, few differences were found in the network compositions at different stages of substance abuse treatment. The exception was the network composition of women in the active treatment stage, which included more network members from treatment programs or 12-Step meetings. Although neither the type nor amount of social support differed across treatment stages, reciprocity differed between women in active treatment and those in the engagement stage. Networks of women in active treatment were less connected, as indicated by a higher number of components, whereas networks of women in the persuasion stage had a higher degree of centralization, as indicated by networks dominated by people with the most ties. Overall, we find social network structural variables to relate to the stage of treatment, whereas network composition, type of social support, and sociodemographic variables (with a few exceptions) do not relate to treatment stage. Results suggest that social context, particularly how social contacts are arranged around clients, should be incorporated into treatment programs, regardless of demographic background.
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