Measuring recovery capital for people recovering from alcohol and drug addiction: a systematic review

Adela Bunaciu, Ana-Maria Bliuc, David Best, Emily A. Hennessy, Matthew J. Belanger, Christopher S. Y. Benwell

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Recovery capital (RC) theory provides a biopsychosocial framework for identifying and measuring strengths and barriers that can be targeted to support recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. This systematic review analyzed and synthesized all quantitative approaches that have been used to measured recovery capital RC in the recent literaturesince 2016.

    Method: Systematic database searches were conducted in three databases to identifyThe reviewed studies were published from 2016 to 2023, . Eligible studiesand explicitly stated they measured RC recovery capital in participants recovering from alcohol and/or drug addiction. Studies focusing on other forms of addiction were excluded.

    Results: Sixty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Forty-six studies (66.7%) used one of the ten identified RC recovery capital questionnaires, and twenty-five studies (36.2%) used a measurement approach other than one of the ten RC recovery capital questionnaires. The ten RC recovery capital questionnaires are primarily developed for adult populations across clinical and community recovery settings, and between them measuredwere identified to measure altogether 41 separate RC recovery capital constructs. They, and are generally considered valid and reliable measures of RCrecovery capital. Nevertheless, a strong evidence base on the psychometric properties across diverse populations and settings is still needs to be established for all RC these questionnaires.

    Conclusion: The development of RC recovery capital questionnaires has been a significant advance in the addiction recovery field, in alignment with the modern emerging recovery-oriented approach to addiction recovery care. Additionally, the non-RC recovery capital questionnaire-based approaches to RC recovery capital measurement have an important place in the field. They could be used alongside RC recovery capital questionnaires to test RC theory, and in contexts where the application of the RC questionnaires is not feasible, such as analyses of data from online recovery forums.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)225-236
    JournalAddiction Research & Theory
    Issue number3
    Early online date18 Aug 2023
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024


    • Recovery capital; recovery; substance addiction; recovery measurement; alcohol; drugs


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