I am an alcohol researcher who has focused on treatment and recovery. My overarching research interest is in non-professional solutions to alcohol and drug problems. I have studied mutual aid groups in depth, and have published on both 12-step groups and Women for Sobriety (WFS, the only mutual help organization developed specifically for women). I have shown that changes in social network composition help to explain the effectiveness of 12-step involvement. I developed a group-format 12-step facilitation intervention called MAAEZ, or Making AA Easier, which focused on helping newcomers get to know and feel comfortable with people in AA/NA, and led an NIH funded clinical trial of MAAEZ. I have led research on social model programs which included observing and comparing what goes on in medical/clinically-oriented treatment versus social model recovery programs, randomized clinical trials comparing outcomes of the two programmatic approaches, and a longitudinal study of how social model programs had changed over time due to the medicalization of treatment. My last study, “What is Recovery?”, interviewed hundreds of recovering individuals and analyzed all available literature on recovery to understand how individuals in recovery actually define recovery. Almost 10,000 individuals in recovery then rated how those definitions matched their own definition of recovery. Four of the elements in the definition were endorsed as definitely belonging in the definition recovery among over 90% of the people in the study: Being honest with myself; Handling negative feelings without using alcohol or drugs; Being able to enjoy life without drinking or using drugs like I used to; and Recovery is a process of growth and development. Two additional definitions were endorsed regardless of being in 12-step recovery, medication-assisted recovery, or other pathways to recovery: Reacting to life’s ups and downs in a more balanced way than I used to; and Taking responsibility for the things I can change.
Dr.P.H. (Dr. of Public Health): School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 1992 B.S. Mathematics: University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, 1969
Witbrodt, J., Kaskutas, L.A., Grella, C.E., (2015). How do recovery definitions distinguish recovering individuals? Five typologies. Drug Alcohol Depend 148, 109-117.
Kaskutas, L. A., Borkman, T., Laudet, A., Ritter, L. A., Witbrodt, J., Subbaraman, M. et al. (2014) Elements that define recovery: the experiential perspective, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 75, 999-1010.
Subbaraman, M. S. & Kaskutas, L. A. (2012) Social support and comfort in AA as mediators of "Making AA Easier" (MAAEZ), a 12-step facilitation intervention, Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 26, 759-765
Subbaraman, M. S., Kaskutas, L. A. & Zemore, S. E. (2011) Sponsorship and service as mediators of the effects of Making Alcoholics Anonymous Easier (MAAEZ), a 12-step facilitation intervention, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 116, 117-124.
Kaskutas, L. A., Subbaraman, M. S., Witbrodt, J. & Zemore, S. E. (2009) Effectiveness of Making Alcoholics Anonymous Easier (MAAEZ), a group format 12-step facilitation approach, Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 37, 228-239.
Kaskutas, L. A. (2009) Alcoholics Anonymous effectiveness: faith meets science, Journal of Addictive Diseases, 28, 145-157.
Kaskutas, L. A. (2008) Comments on the Cochrane review on Alcoholics Anonymous effectiveness [Letter to the Editor], Addiction, 103, 1402-1403.
Kaskutas, L. A., Ye, Y., Greenfield, T. K., Witbrodt, J. & Bond, J. (2008) Epidemiology of Alcoholics Anonymous participation, in: Galanter, M. & Kaskutas, L. A. (Eds.) Recent Developments in Alcoholism: Research on Alcoholics Anonymous and spiritual aspects in addiction recovery, pp. 261- 282 (New York, Springer).
Kaskutas, L. A., Zavala, S. K., Parthasarathy, S. & Witbrodt, J. (2008) Costs of day hospital and community residential chemical dependency treatment, The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics, 11, 27-32.
Kaskutas, L. A., Ammon, L. N., Oberste, E. A. & Polcin, D. L. (2007) A brief scale for measuring helping activities in recovery: the Brief Helper Therapy Scale, Substance Use and Misuse, 42, 1767- 1781.
Kaskutas, L.A., Ammon, L.N., Delucchi, K., Room, R., Bond, J., Weisner, C., (2005). Alcoholics Anonymous careers: patterns of AA involvement five years after treatment entry. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 29, 1983-1990.
Kaskutas, L. A., Zhang, L., French, M. T. & Witbrodt, J. (2005) Women’s programs versus mixed gender day treatment: results from a randomized study, Addiction, 100, 60-69.