Date of Completion


Embargo Period



recovery, substance use, high school, adolescents, operationalization

Major Advisor

Blair T. Johnson

Associate Advisor

Kun Chen

Associate Advisor

Rhiannon Smith

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The term “recovery” has been widely adopted in substance use-related literature. But no operational standard can be found regarding how to measure recovery among substance use population under 18 years old. Using data from 294 adolescents who were followed for 12 months after receiving treatment for substance use disorders (SUDs), we find converging evidence of a general recovery factor v, extracted from 15 indicators, that potentially reflects adolescents’ level of recovery from SUDs. The latent v score generated using factor loadings is associated with criterion variables in the expected directions where positive correlations were found with for life satisfaction, social support, and enrollment in recovery high school (RHS), and negative correlations with peers’ supporting attitudes toward substance use. A significant interaction was found between RHS enrollment and time on the latent v score. Three sub-types of recovery – struggled recovery, inconsistent recovery, and consistent recovery – were identified based on differential distributions of the indicators. Most people were in the struggled recovery status at baseline, but a higher proportion of RHS students transitioned into inconsistent and consistent recovery statuses over time.