Prevalence and risk factors associated with substance use and abuse by Rhode Island health care professionals
The major goals of this study were to address: (1) some of the key gaps in knowledge that can best be investigated by simultaneously examining the epidemiologic prevalence of alcohol, tobacco and other substance use by dentists, nurses, pharmacists and physicians; (2) methodological shortcomings of previous healthcare professional surveys. The method consisted of a seven page mail-survey sent to a random sample of 697 Rhode Island healthcare professionals (HCPs) during 2002. After three waves of surveys, 479 usable surveys were returned (68.7% response). ^ The results of this study suggest HCPs are at slightly higher risk to use prescription drugs than the general population, however exceptions exist depending on the group, temporal scale and substance assessed. The findings also demonstrate that groups of HCPs maintain distinct substance use differences. For example, alcohol and marijuana use appear to be the greatest substance use threats to dentists' wellbeing. Differences in HCP groups may be both idiosyncratic of and potentially involving selection into a profession. For example, a family history of alcohol or other drug problems are important etiologic factors that appear to be atypically associated with the profession of nursing. On the other hand, other substance use differences may be the result of drug access as evidenced by greater minor opiate and anxiolytic use by pharmacists. Moreover, while substance use by physicians was low, self-prescribed anxiolytic use was highest among HCP groups. Though gender differences were modest, the current study also demonstrated that older HCPs reported significantly greater weekly alcohol and greater combined substance use than younger HCPs. Finally, regression analyses demonstrated certain biopsychosocial factors are important predictors attributed to specific levels of substance use by HCPs. ^ In sum, like the rest of society, few HCPs are immune to the effects of alcohol and or drug use regardless of education. Attempting to elucidate the psychological aspects of substance use should be an ongoing educational process that starts in college and continues throughout a HCPs career. While these data are important, more methodologically rigorous studies involving a greater number of HCPs are suggested to confirm and extend the findings of this study. ^
Psychology, Behavioral|Health Sciences, Public Health|Psychology, Experimental
George Anthony Kenna,
"Prevalence and risk factors associated with substance use and abuse by Rhode Island health care professionals"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).