Also known as “Addiction Recovery: A Selected Bibliography of Professional Publications and Scientific Studies,” the Recovery Research Bibliography is a comprehensive repository of scientific studies originally developed by William L. White and edited by Rita A. Chaney, and their efforts alone amassed over 5,000 citations on recovery theory and research literature. The goal was to capture scientific and professional papers specifically related to addiction recovery or that provide insights into the prevalence, pathways, processes, styles, and stages of addiction recovery.  


The Recovery Research Institute (RRI) has been gifted the distinct honor of maintaining and updating the Bibliography, and in approaching this valuable undertaking, we discussed how to best continue the Bibliography and ensure citation selection remains a systematic and transparent process. Given the large number of potential studies that could be included, studies were defined as focusing on recovery if they examined recovery community supports, including online programs or examined services that link patients to services outside the clinical realm (for further details, view our set of inclusion criteria). To ensure reproducibility, we are using a systematic electronic database search that is updated on a quarterly basis and instituted additional approaches to reduce the potential for bias when deciding whether or not a study should be included in the bibliography (see Methods).

Access the Recovery Research Bibliography:

  1. Publicly-available Zotero library (link will bring you to a Zotero library that can be searched and/or downloaded)
  2. An updated Recovery Bibliography PDF of citations organized by categories (see methods for latest search dates)

Search. The search strategy was developed and implemented by Melis Lydston, a medical librarian and Knowledge Specialist for Research & Instruction at the Treadwell Library. Electronic searches for published literature were conducted using Ovid MEDLINE (1946 to present), (1947 to present), Web of Science (1900 to present), Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) via Ovid (1991 to present) and PsycInfo (1967 to May Week 2 2023). To avoid the potential to contribute to publication and/or reporting bias, we do not have inclusion criteria to screen out non-peer reviewed studies (e.g., dissertations, conference presentations) and include them when relevant. The search strategy incorporated controlled vocabulary and free-text synonyms for the concepts of youth, adults, substance abuse disorders, treatment, and recovery. Search strategies for each database can be found here: dates listed will be updated quarterly for the actual search our team conduct, but this document uses the final search from September 2023 (no keywords or terms have been changed since). No restrictions on language were applied. An adapted age filter was used and a date limit from 2022 to present was used for the first search since RRI acquired the Bibliography (May 2023). The most recent search was conducted in September of 2023. The PRISMA flow diagram, below, will be updated on a quarterly basis, after the screening process for that quarter has been completed. 


Screening. All screeners were trained on the inclusion criteria using several sets of citations. Citations are screened for inclusion by these trained screeners in duplicate at the title/abstract level. Potentially eligible studies are retrieved in full text and the full text PDFs are then screened for inclusion in duplicate. All discrepancies are resolved by discussion.  


Quality. Finally, it is important to note that while the process to identify the citations involved a rigorous search and screening process, our team has not examined the citations included in the Recovery Bibliography for quality or their potential for risk of bias. This is up to individual readers of the manuscripts. 

Originally developed by:

• William White, MA

• Rita Chaney, MS, LMHC

The Bibliography is currently maintained by Emily Hennessy and John Kelly with support from Melis Lydston at the MGH Treadwell Library and our expert research team: Alexandra Abry, Jenny O’Connor, Morgan Klein, Nick Herbst, and Shane George. The webpage is maintained by Zoe Gerndt and Zoe Hall.


If you use the Recovery Bibliography in your own work (e.g., for an evidence synthesis), please cite it as follows: The Recovery Research Bibliography. (Replace with version date). Recovery Research Institute. Retrieved from on [Replace with date retrieved].