A comparison of the extent of substance abuse training and counselor attitudes and skills related to substance abusers

Sharon Jean Bartlett-Voigt, Purdue University


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of substance-abuse training in graduate counseling programs and practicum settings on counselor attitudes and skills by surveying counseling graduate students in training. Participants consisted of 117 graduate students in counselor education programs from six different universities in four states.^ Hypothesis one tested substance-abuse training and counselor positivity toward substance abusing clients. Hypothesis two tested substance-abuse training and counselor diagnosis of substance abusing clients. Hypothesis three tested substance-abuse training and counselor optimism of client prognosis. A research question explored the attitudes of graduate counseling students toward treatment of substance abusing clients, as well as their perceptions of their own competency in alcohol assessment. There were two independent variables, substance-abuse training in graduate programs (4 levels) and practicum settings (5 settings) and five dependent variables, positivity, diagnosis, counselor optimism of prognosis, counselor attitude, and perception of competency. The six instruments used in this research project were: Demoaraphic Form, Client Vignette, Primary and Secondary Diagnosis Instrument, Session Evaluation Questionnaire, Prognosis -Evaluation Instrument, and Chemical Dependency Treatment Questionnaire.^ Findings indicated that the level of substance abuse training in graduate programs was significantly related to the positivity with which participants responded to the client, was related to correct dual diagnosis and alcohol abuse diagnosis, and was related to counselor attitudes towards substance abuse treatment as well as counselors' self-rating in alcohol assessment competency. Over ninety percent of participants concurred that it was essential for all counselors to have substance-abuse training. All counselors, including school counselors, are likely to encounter substance abusing clients or have clients whose behavior has been influenced by substance abuse. ^




Major Professor: Richard C. Nelson, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Health Sciences, Education|Psychology, Clinical|Education, Higher

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