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Addiction Treatment Professionals: An Understudied Population within Recovery Settings

Updated: Aug 29

Editor’s note: In today’s post, we highlight a few recent dissertations on addiction treatment professionals as an occupational class. These entries are part of an ongoing drug-related dissertation bibliography being compiled by Jonathon Erlen, selections of which were formerly published in the Social History of Alcohol and Drugs journal but are now periodically featured on the Points blog. Contact Dr. Erlen through the link above. Is There a Relationship Between Alcohol/Drug Counselor’s Strength of Belief in the Disease Concept of Addiction and Burnout?

Author: Dodd, Dan D.

Abstract: This study examined the association between substance abuse counselors’ (a) level of burnout and strength of belief in the disease concept of addiction, (b) level of burnout and recovery status, and (c) recovery status and strength of belief in the disease concept. Participants were recruited via a purposive convenience survey sampling method of counselors who were certified Chemical Dependency Professionals (CDPs) or Chemical Dependency Professional Trainees (CDPTs) who were employed in substance use disorder outpatient treatment facilities. A total of 130 surveys were distributed of which 72 were returned giving a 55% response rate. Six surveys were removed due to not providing evidence of informed consent or high frequency of missed answers. Of the remaining 66 participants, 45 were female, 20 were male, and one declined to report gender status. The largest age cohort was 41 years of age and over. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory-HSS (Maslach, Jackson, & Leiter, 1966), and the Addiction Belief Scale (Schaler, 1995). Analysis of data included Spearman rank order correlation, Chi-square Test for Independence, and Fisher’s Exact Test. Results indicated that as strength in the belief in the disease concept increased, level of emotional exhaustion/burnout decreased. There was no association for the burnout subscales of depersonalization and personal accomplishment. In addition, there was no significant association between (a) level of burnout and recovery status, or (b) recovery status and strength of belief in the disease concept. Future research should determine if results of this study can be replicated and shift its focus from why professionals are leaving the addiction field to why individuals remain working in the field.

Publication year: 2015

Committee member: Dunn, Christopher; Heusler, William; Suarez, Alejandra

University/institution: Antioch University

Department: Clinical Psychology

The Role of Spiritual Wellness as a Predictor of Employment Satisfaction in Addiction Treatment Professionals

Author: Leventhal, Belinda

Abstract: The focus of this quantitative research study was to ascertain the role of spiritual wellness as a predictor of employment satisfaction in addiction treatment professionals. Fisher’s (2013) Spiritual Health and Life Orientation Measurement 2 (SHALOM2), Maslach, Jackson, and Leiter’s (1996) Burnout Inventory the Human Services Survey (MBI-HSS), Weiss, Davis, England, and Lofquist’s (1967) Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire-Short Form (MSQ-Short Form), and a researcher-designed demographic survey were utilized to study nationwide members of The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). The method used to collect data was a web-based service: Survey Monkey. Descriptive statistics reported the data collected from the demographic survey. A determinate function analysis of the data collected ( n = 102) explored a correlation between spiritual wellness and job satisfaction, as well as between spiritual wellness and job burnout. The discriminant analysis revealed four discriminant functions; first function explained 51.9% of the variance; second function explained 24.2% of the variance; third function explained 18.4% of the variance; and the fourth explained 5.5% of the variance. In combination, these discriminant functions significantly differentiated among the five levels of spiritual wellness, Λ = .004, x 2 (180) = 228.47, p = .01, however, removing the first function indicated that the remaining functions did not significantly differentiate the spiritual wellness levels. The correlations between outcomes and the discriminant functions revealed that age, highest level of education, race, and relationship status have the highest loadings on all four functions, however three of the 15 hypotheses were supported: all variables taken together, type of license, and household income.

Publication year: 2016

Advisor: Lange, Amber

Committee member: Pate, George; Schooley, AnnaLynn

University/institution: Capella University

Department: Social and Behavioral Sciences

Factors Associated With Harm Reduction Model Use Among Substance Abuse Counselors

Author: Madden, Tiffany

Abstract: Drug overdose death rates in the United States have more than tripled since 1990 with more than 36,000 dying in 2008. In 2007 the estimated cost of drug use to U.S. society due to lost productivity, increased health care, and criminal justice costs was over $193 billion. Previous researchers have found that harm reduction is a viable treatment option within the field of addiction. The guiding premise in the harm reduction approach is that all people can achieve improved psychological and physiological health even if they are unable to be substance-free. However, there remains an important gap in the current literature regarding factors that may influence substance abuse counselors’ use of the harm reduction model. Specific individual counselor independent variables (recovery status, education level, age, length of time in the field, and understanding of substance abuse conceptualizations) may play a role in counselors’ acceptance of the harm reduction approach as a viable treatment for substance abuse. Therefore, the purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate which variables played a role in counselors’ acceptance of the harm reduction model. This research sampled 100 professional substance abuse counselors selected from the American Counseling Association (ACA) database. Multiple regression analyses were utilized to examine study research questions. Findings of this study indicated that disease and eclectic orientation conceptualizations were significant predictors of harm reduction acceptance, suggesting training targets for increasing acceptance of the harm reduction model among counselors. This is an important contribution to the existing literature and enhances social change initiatives by expanding the use of effective substance abuse treatment options.

Publication year: 2016

Advisor: Davis, Kelly

Committee member: Walters, Marlo

University/institution: Walden University

Department: Psychology

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