A mixed-methods study of online peer-led support for family members of people living with addiction

Family members affected by addiction face challenges in the context of stress, stigma, and isolation. We aimed to understand how, and to what extent, an online peer-led support group for family members impacted their self-efficacy, social support, and well-being. We used a mixed-methods design, comprising within-subjects analysis of pre-and post-intervention data (n=23) and conventional content analysis of interviews (n=11). Participants were recruited from an online addiction education program. Results indicated significant improvement in general self-efficacy (b=2.63, 95% CI 0.82, 4.44, p=0.004). Three themes of participants’ experiences were: connecting with others who share the same world; facilitators make the group; and accessing support in a crisis. Our research suggests a supportive online group, using skilled lived-experience facilitators, provides an opportunity for affected family members to share and connect when they need.


Freya Horn, Research Assistant, Turning Point, Eastern Health

Freya is a Research Assistant in Turning Point’s Clinical and Social Research team. Freya works on projects with Turning Point’s telephone and online services. Freya completed a Graduate Diploma of Psychology (Advanced) at the University of Melbourne in 2020.

Glenn Hunter, Project Lead, SHARC

Glenn Hunter is a Project Lead in the Family Drug and Gambling Help team at SHARC (Self Help Addiction Resource Centre). Glenn oversees and facilitates the psychoeducation program Breakthrough: Families Understanding Addiction, for families affected by someone’s alcohol, drugs, or gambling. Glenn is a former Police Officer with qualifications in Alcohol & Other Drugs and Mental Health.

Credited Authors

Robert Campbell, Program Manager, Family Drug & Gambling Help, Self Help Addiction Resource Centre (SHARC)


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