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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Increases in tolerance within naturalistic, intentional communities: A randomized, longitudinal examination
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The authors examine differential changes in values of tolerance among 150 participants discharged from inpatient treatment centers, and randomly assigned to either a self-help-based, communal living setting (i.e., Oxford House), or usual aftercare. Participants were interviewed every 6 months for a 24-month period. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) was used to examine the effect of condition (therapeutic communal living versus usual aftercare) on wave trajectories of tolerance (i.e., universality/diversity scores). Over time, residents of the communal living model demonstrated significantly greater values of tolerance than usual aftercare participants. Communal living participants who resided in the house for over 6 months showed the most substantial increases in tolerance. Results support the notion that communal living residents may develop more tolerant attitudes by striving toward superordinate community goals (objectives held by (a) the whole group and (b) which individual members could not achieve alone).