Introduction: Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) cause significant distress to millions of Americans and considerable impact to society at large. Stigmatization of mental illness has been identified as the number-one barrier to seeking healthcare and it is unclear to what degree Mental Health Professionals (MHPs) share this negative bias. Education in SUDs for MHPs may play a role in reducing stigma in the treatment of SUD patients. The effect of education in SUDs on implicit and explicit attitude change is investigated longitudinally in a Substance Abuse Counseling MA Degree Program in Psychology. Academic outcomes and student demographic characteristics are assessed. Hypotheses: Implicit and explicit attitudes will change over the study period and will be related at follow-up. Knowledge acquired of SUDs will predict attitude change. Methods: This study was longitudinal, following 20 students over one year of study via assessment at baseline and follow-up. The drop-out rate was 20%, with 16 students remaining at follow-up. Implicit attitudes were assessed included the SC-IAT, explicit attitudes were assessed with the SAAS (general attitudes), DDQ (discrimination), and SDS (social distance). Academic progress was assessed via an Addictions Knowledge Test and the DDPPQ (confidence treating SUDs). Results: No significant change was found for implicit attitudes. Significant change in the positive direction was found for the SAAS. SAAS scores were positively correlated with DDQ scores at baseline and DDQ and SDS scores at follow-up. Both Addictions Knowledge Test Scores and DDPPQ scores and increased significantly over the study period, but they were not significantly related. DDPPQ scores were positively correlated with all explicit attitude measures. Conclusion: The CMHSAC Program was effective in increasing positive explicit attitudes toward SUDs, but it is unclear if personal attitudes actually shifted or if awareness was brought to the problematic nature of stigma instead. Students’ self-perception of their confidence and competence to work clinically strongly predicted explicit attitude change. Actual knowledge and confidence may not be directly related. Further research is needed to clarify the facets of education that are most effective in stigma reduction. Larger studies should be conducted to further investigate the effect of education on implicit attitudes.
|Advisor:||Todman, McWelling, Talley, Jenifer|
|Commitee:||Freeberg, Ellen, Standora, Joan, Talley, Jenifer, Todman, McWelling|
|School:||The New School|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-B 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Public Health Education, Social studies education, Psychology|
|Keywords:||Academic review, Addiction, Alcohol and other drugs, Implicit and explicit attitudes, Mental health stigma, Substance abuse counseling|
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