Objective: Studies have shown that people often report stigma as a barrier to entering treatment for substance related conditions. This study attempted to determine whether if using stigmatizing language when referring to individuals with substance related conditions would perpetuate stigmatizing attitudes among social worker and other behavioral health professionals.
Methods: Participants were asked to read a vignette that contained one of two terms substance abuser or substance use disorder to rate their agreement with a number of related statements. N = 65, Master's level Social workers (25%) and other behavioral health professionals (75%). A likert-scale questionnaire with three subscales (perpetuator-punishment, victim-treatment, and social threat) was used to assessed whether the character was a social threat, able to regulate substance use, and should receive punitive or treatment option.
Results: No significant differences were found on the social-treat or victim treatment subscales. However, a difference was detected on the perpetuator-punishment scale. Those who responded to the substance abuser vignette in specialization Other were more likely to perceive the character as culpable.
Conclusion: Results from this study suggest that there is chance that it may matter how we refer to individuals with problematic substance and/or alcohol use. The term substance abuser may influence stigmatizing attitudes.
|Commitee:||Glezakos, Agathi, Santhiveeran, Janaki|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 52/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social work, Health sciences|
|Keywords:||Drug abuse, Social work and stigma, Social work perceptions, Stigma and views, Stigma of drug use, Stigma of drugs|
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