Individual-Group Dynamics in a 12-Step Fellowship: Identification, Service, and Recovery in Overeaters Anonymous

Powers, Erin. 2014. "Individual-Group Dynamics in a 12-Step Fellowship: Identification, Service, and Recovery in Overeaters Anonymous." PhD Dissertation, Department of Sociology, University of Washington.

Committee: 
Edgar Kiser (Co-Chair), Steve Pfaff (Co-Chair), Denise Walker (GSR), Jerald Herting.

Self-help/mutual-aid groups, relative to other forms of voluntary association, continue to thrive. Many of these groups follow the 12-Step model of Alcoholics Anonymous. One such organization is the fellowship of Overeaters Anonymous, a group for those with a desire to stop compulsively overeating and/or recover from other eating disorders. I analyze this group using mixed methods and relying on data I collected primarily from 2010 to 2012, including 151 participant surveys, 16 group surveys, 30 interviews, and 366 discrete observations of 21 OA groups (i.e., meetings) located in a large Pacific Northwest city. In this dissertation, I explore 12-Step groups as sociological phenomena, addressing identification processes, the effects of costly behavioral dictates on group members, and the diverse determinants and types of recovery experienced by members.

Status of Research: 
Completed/published
Research Type: