The Assets for Building Collegiate Recovery Capacity (2013)

The objective of this study is to identify community-based assets that can help students in recovery thrive in the fullness of the college experience. This work leverages asset models to describe community-based assets.

To date, asset models have had limited application within the field of collegiate recovery. The application of asset models in this context can aid and inform researchers and practitioners interested in the advancement and proliferation of collegiate recovery programs.

Importantly, this work is not intended to evaluate the effectiveness of any given college-based recovery program. Rather, the intent is to identify the assets that a community can apply to establish, support, grow and sustain collegiate recovery efforts.

To begin, researchers reviewed existing literature on developmental assets, environmental assets, protective factors and community capacities that are known to contribute to healthy and productive lifestyles among young adults. Additionally, the research team reviewed literature and identified assets from recovery-oriented systems of care and best practices from other age-specific recovery communities. This initial review resulted in a set of 116 possible assets; like terms were combined, and based on this literature review the research team devised a set of 34 unique assets that were potentially relevant to helping students in recovery thrive while getting the most out of everything a college experience has to offer.

Next, experts from the field of collegiate recovery reviewed these potential assets during a series of 11 interviews. Following this series of interviews, the set of assets was revised to create a set of 38 hypothetical assets.

Following the revision, 42 self-identified collegiate recovery programs in the U.S. were surveyed and asked to contribute to and review the set of 38 hypothetical assets. Nineteen programs responded to this request by the deadline. Through the survey, staff at collegiate recovery programs were asked to categorize assets as (1) critical to start serving and supporting college students in recovery and essential to serving and supporting college students in recovery on an ongoing basis, (2) essential to serving and supporting college students in recovery on an ongoing basis but not critical to start or (3) neither critical to start serving and supporting college students in recovery nor essential to serving and supporting college students in recovery on an ongoing basis. Notably, this survey produced a set of 11 assets that are regarded as critical to start serving and supporting college students in recovery.

Finally, recent graduates of collegiate recovery programs were asked to participate in focus groups with the intent of uncovering the assets that students view as the most supportive of their recovery while members of a collegiate recovery program. Young People In Recovery partnered with researchers to identify and recruit three recent graduates of collegiate recovery programs to participate in two virtual focus groups. Due to the small size of these focus groups, data collected was used for discussion; however, a larger sample size would be needed to incorporate their feedback into the set hypothetical assets.

The input from the data points listed above was collected and contributed to the final set of 38 categorized community-based assets presented by the Stacie Mathewson Foundation as The Assets for Building Collegiate Recovery Capacity.