Cover: Social Networks of Clients in First-Time DUI Programs

Social Networks of Clients in First-Time DUI Programs

Published in: Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Volume 81, Issue 5, pages 655-663 (September 2020). doi: 10.15288/jsad.2020.81.655

Posted on Jun 15, 2023

by Mauri Matsuda, Karen Chan Osilla, David P. Kennedy, Susan M. Paddock


Social networks play an important role in the development of and recovery from problem drinking behaviors; however, few studies have measured the social networks of individuals convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or assessed the relationship between social network characteristics and risk for DUI relapse and recidivism. The goal of this study is to describe the social network characteristics of a first-time DUI population in the 2 weeks before the DUI incident; examine demographic differences in social network characteristics by age, ethnicity, and gender; and assess the relationship between social network characteristics and risk factors for DUI.


We collected personal (egocentric) social network survey data from 94 participants (65% male) enrolled in a randomized clinical trial comparing the effects of cognitive behavioral therapy with usual care for individuals convicted of a first-time DUI. Multivariate models were used to assess the relationship between pre-DUI personal network characteristics and risk factors for DUI measured at baseline interview.


Results indicate that the proportion of drinking partners in one's personal network was positively associated with drinks per week, binge drinking, alcohol use, marijuana use, and alcohol-related consequences. Several dimensions of personal network support were inversely associated with risk factors for DUI.


The pre-DUI composition of personal networks has a strong relationship to baseline risk factors for DUI; networks composed of more risky individuals (e.g., drinking partners) were associated with greater substance use and drinking and driving behaviors. Networks with greater levels of social support were associated with lower likelihood of self-reported driving after drinking and intentions to drive after drinking. Interventions that target positive and negative aspects of personal networks may enhance clinical treatments.

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