Frequently Asked Questions


When will the 2nd survey occur?

The second survey will occur in May 2022.  Eligible participants who completed the first PAL2 survey in late 2021 will receive an email from the PAL2Study@icfsurvey.com with a link to the survey.

Who's sponsoring and conducting this study?

This study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism within the National Institutes of Health. It is being conducted by the Public Health Institute, or PHI, which is a socially-conscious, nonprofit organization specializing in health research and policy action. PHI is dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and quality of life for people in communities across the country and around the world. Their headquarters are in Oakland, California, just outside San Francisco. Their website is www.phi.org. ICF, a health research company, is managing survey collection and contacts participants on behalf of the study.

How will the data be used?

Information from this survey will be used to shed light on mutual-help group alternatives for addiction including 12-step groups, Women for Sobriety (WFS), LifeRing, and SMART Recovery. The survey will provide a deeper understanding of when, for whom, and why mutual-help group participation is helpful. Results will help individuals to make the best choices possible among the range of effective peer support options, and will assist doctors and other clinicians in making informed referrals. Results will also alert courts and policymakers regarding effective resources in addiction treatment.

Why should I participate?

This study will provide much-needed information on the nature and effectiveness of 12-step groups, Women for Sobriety, LifeRing, and SMART Recovery in addressing addiction.

Information gained from the survey could extend the menu of options that people consider when developing treatment and recovery support plans, thus enhancing the likelihood that people benefit from a supportive peer network.

Participating allows you and the groups you attend to be accurately represented. When you and others participate, you help the study to come to accurate conclusions about effective recovery support.

Who can participate?

PAL2 is no longer recruiting new participants.

You may be eligible if you:

    • Have attended a mutual-help group meeting for an alcohol problem of your own in the past 30 days—both in-person and online meetings count.
    • Are able to take an online survey in English.
    • Are at least 18.
    • Are a U.S. resident.
    • Did NOT participate in the 2015 PAL Study survey.
What does participating in the study involve?

Participation involves completing three surveys, including one initial survey and two follow-up surveys.

Surveys will take about 30 minutes to complete and include questions about your experiences, thoughts, feelings, and health.

Completing the surveys is voluntary. You can exit at any time, and choose to skip any questions that you don’t want to answer.

How will participants' responses be kept private?

We will take every precaution to keep your information safe. The study team uses strict data security procedures to protect the confidentiality of all survey data. Our survey software uses advanced encryption technology to ensure confidentiality, and participant names and identifying information will be stored separately from their survey data.

No information that can identify you will ever be used in study reports or publications. Data will be reported only in aggregate form. That means that we will never report anyone’s specific answers; we will report only averages across survey participants.

Additionally, the study benefits from a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health. This certificate provides legal protection in the unlikely event that people from outside the study team request access to the data. It helps the study team to legally refuse to reveal anyone’s identifying information.

Will I receive anything for my time?

You will receive a $35 Amazon.com gift code for completing the initial survey and $40 for the 6- and 12-month follow-ups.


Should I take the survey if I feel I don't know anything about the topic?

If you are eligible to participate we want to hear from you.

The surveys are about your experiences with mutual-help groups. They are not tests. We need to hear from people who don’t know much about mutual-help groups and people who know a lot about them. We also need to include people at various stages in their recoveries to make sure our results represent everyone.

Where can I get more information?

For technical assistance, please contact our Help Desk at PAL2Study@ICFSURVEY.COM.

Project-related information can be obtained from the Project Coordinator at the Public Health Institute, Ms. Joanne Delk (call 512-765-5983 or email pal2study@arg.org).

Information about confidentiality and protection of human subjects can be obtained from the Institutional Review Board at the Public Health Institute. Contact Mr. Robert McLaughlin (call 510-285-5500 or email Robert.McLaughlin@phi.org) or contact the study’s Principal Investigator, Dr. Sarah Zemore, at szemore@arg.org.

The 3rd and final PAL2 survey is happening right now!

Eligible participants who completed the first PAL2 survey in late 2021 have been sent a link to access the survey via email.

PAL2 is no longer recruiting new participants.