Network Support Project

Principal Investigator: Mark D. Litt, Ph.D.

Brief Overview

This intervention helps alcohol-dependent individuals develop abstinent-supportive social networks in order to facilitate sustained reduction in drinking.


Alcohol dependent adults

Core Components of Intervention

  • Mode of Delivery and Duration:  Weekly 60-minute individual outpatient sessions with therapist conducted for 12 weeks
  • Therapists should be BA-Level or equivalent, with at least 2 years experience working with alcohol dependent patients.
  • Setting:  University medical center
  • Theoretical Basis:  Cognitive-Behavioral
  • Materials Available:  Therapist Manual, Fidelity Checklist Package, Training Presentation in PPT.  Materials are available upon request.


A randomized controlled trial compared the efficacy of Network Support (NS) and Network Support + Contingency Management (NS + CM) relative to a Case Management (CaseM) control among 210 alcohol dependent adults.  The NS sessions focused on helping patients change their social network to be more supportive of abstinence and less supportive of drinking.  NS + CM sessions focused on same content as NS sessions but added rewards contingent upon completion of assigned tasks between sessions.  The CaseM control focused on identifying strategies to overcoming common barriers to abstinence (e.g., employment, housing).  Both NS and NS + CM groups demonstrated greater abstinence compared to the CaseM control at a 15-month follow-up (Litt et al., 2007).  Further, the NS groups demonstrated greater behavioral and attitudinal support for abstinence and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) involvement relative to the CaseM control, suggesting that the NS interventions were successful in changing social networks to be more supportive of abstinence as long as 27 months post-intervention (Litt et al., 2009).

Implementation History

Network Support treatment was first implemented in 2002 in the context of a federally funded clinical trial.  In the course of the trial over 140 patients were treated with Network Support treatment at the University of Connecticut Health Center.  Since that time a form of the treatment has been adopted for use by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Veterans Administration is considering its adoption for use with its substance-using patient population.  In addition, the University of Connecticut Health Center is conducting another trial of Network Support treatment.  To date another 40 patients have received this treatment.

Contact Info

Mark Litt, Ph.D.
Division of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health
University of Connecticut Health Center
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860.679.4680