Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Dominik Guess

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Leone

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt



Despite decades of research, over 400 million people around the globe suffer from substance abuse and only 10% to 43% maintain abstinence after treatment. Social support, spirituality, self-regulation, and locus of control have all been examined for their efficacy and relationship with successful abstinence outcomes. Conceptually, educational/vocational achievement is believed to contribute to reforming an identity divorced from the previous lifestyle of active addiction. Educational and Vocational achievements as proxies for non-addict identity have only been investigated sporadically. The present study seeks to establish a quantitative link between successful long-term recovery and these types of goal-oriented achievements. A survey was administered to 195 participants in recovery and results showed that those who have achieved an advanced certification, license, or degree since getting clean report almost twice as must clean time as those who did not. Multiple regression revealed that educational/vocational achievement was a significant predictor and the overall model accounted for 49% of the variance in length of abstinence. These findings expose the importance of a neglected component of research in recovery from addiction. Implications include greater emphasis on vocational rehabilitation in recovery and future research should aim to examine and refine this concept further.

Keywords: identity, recovery, addiction, substance abuse, vocation, achievement, educational attainment